Buffalo Wild Wings, one the country's largest sports bars, is adding sports betting to the menu.
The Golden Valley-based restaurant chain on Thursday said it is working with MGM Resorts International and its Roar Digital venture to bring sports betting to locations in states where it is allowed.
Customers will be able to start playing as soon as Thursday with a mobile-based, football-themed game that offers free trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Buffalo Wild Wings and MGM will collaborate this fall on a test of sports wagering inside some of its locations in New Jersey, which launched sports betting last year. And also this football season, Buffalo Wild Wings will begin showing custom sportsbook content on TVs in some locations, with live odds provided by Roar Digital's BetMGM service.
"Our partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is an important development in MGM and Roar's position as the leader in sports entertainment and betting," Jim Murren, chief executive of MGM Resorts, said in a statement. "With more than 1,200 sports bars across the country, Buffalo Wild Wings is firmly established as a 'go to' venue for sports viewing."
As part of the deal, Buffalo Wild Wings will open at least three restaurants in MGM properties or in partnership with BetMGM as more states legalize sports betting.
Buffalo Wild Wings has a long history of capitalizing on the popularity of sports on TV, the internet and cellphones. Shortly after a Supreme Court ruling last year opened the door for states to allow sports betting, executives at Buffalo Wild Wings said they would look for ways to incorporate it into their restaurants.
Since that ruling, 18 states have legalized online sports betting, including Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Montana. It began in Iowa last month. Another 18 states are expected to pass it in 2020 or 2021.
Minnesota does not yet allow it and is among a dozen states not yet considering it, according to the Action Network, a sports analysis media company. Legislators briefly considered it earlier this year but the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association opposed any action.
Buffalo Wild Wings was purchased last year for $2.9 billion by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands, which also owns Arby's.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633