BetMGM PA’s debut online series in has been struggling to attract players. The tournaments, which are also running at Borgata Poker PA, have been seriously under-subscribed thus far.
However, the operator has refused to lower guarantees for the remainder of the series as it attempts to attract players to the site. Halfway through the 10-event series, no tournament has yet reached its guarantee, leaving the operator considerably out of pocket.
It means that this weekend all players can expect significant value from the remaining events on the schedule.
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The writing appeared to be on the wall for BetMGM Pennslvania when Sunday’s opening event—the $535 8Max—fell a whopping $21,000 short of its $50k guarantee, and the pattern has continued throughout the week.
At the time of writing, the series has had a total of $120,000 in guarantees, which has overlaid by 25%*.
|#1 $535 8Max||$50,000||$29,000||$21,000|
|#2 $215 8Max||$20,000||$17,000||$3000|
|#3 $215 6Max||$20,000||$18,600||$1400|
|#4 $109 PLO||$10,000||$8000||$2000|
|#5 $215 40-Stack||$20,000||$11,400||$8600|
It has been a tough start for BetMGM in PA. Its only rival in the Keystone State—PokerStars—held a de facto monopoly there for 18 months, and has built up a solid player base which BetMGM has not as yet been able to tap into.
Tournaments on the site have consistently had overlays, and cash game traffic has barely made a dent in PokerStars’ numbers. PokerStars PA remains the biggest revenue generator of any regulated site in the US.
Soon after launch, BetMGM announced plans for a debut Partypoker US Network Online Series with a $320,000 prize pool. But that series was scrapped while the site worked on building its profile.
When a new series was announced the following month, expectations had been lowered and the total guarantees had been reduced to $270,000. Nevertheless, it has so far fallen well short of the revised figures.
Despite this, BetMGM has steadfastly maintained the guarantees for the remainder of the series, while it continues to try to entice players to the site.
This of course, is great news for players. The rest of the series is likely to see more overlays. At the time of writing, the $1060 Main Event on Sunday June 27 has 8 players registered.
It will need 75 entrants in total if it is to reach its guarantee. Given that last Sunday’s opener pulled in only 58 runners for a buy-in half the size, that would appear to be a tall order.
It seems likely that BetMGM is holding out for the prospect of shared liquidity with its sites in Michigan and New Jersey. After the Department of Justice decided not to appeal January’s Wire Act ruling, it is only a matter of time until multi-state online poker becomes a reality.
It is possible that BetMGM regards the current overlays as a loss leader while it prepares its poker rooms for shared liquidity across PA, MI, and NJ as soon as that is possible. With sites live in all three states, it is uniquely positioned to capitalize as soon as shared liquidity the green light.
The BetMGM PA online series runs until June 27. The Main Event starts on Sunday at 17:00 EDT.
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