The Houston Astros and BetMGM on Monday morning announced a partnership that makes BetMGM the MLB franchise’s exclusive sports betting partner.
Sports betting partnerships with U.S. sports teams have become common in the last few years since states were given the right to launch sports betting, but the BetMGM-Astros deal is interesting because it doesn’t seem like Texas will have legal sports betting anytime soon.
“The Houston Astros are a monumental addition to our portfolio of strategic partnerships with professional sports teams across the U.S.,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said. “The organization’s passionate fan base will be key to the growth of BetMGM throughout the South as we look for new ways to engage fans with unique experiences that go beyond the game.”
Details Of The BetMGM-Astros Partnership
It will be difficult to miss BetMGM’s presence inside Minute Maid Park.
The sportsbook will have signage that is displayed prominently throughout the stadium, including a permanent outfield wall sign and rotational promotional messaging behind home plate.
BetMGM will also introduce various VIP experiences that will be exclusive to BetMGM customers. These experiences include throwing out the first pitch, access to the field during batting practice, and VIP getaways for Astros away games.
In addition, the Astros and BetMGM will offer special betting promotions for BetMGM customers in Louisiana. Louisiana launched legal sports betting on Jan. 28, but Louisiana customers will not be able to place wagers while attending Astros games because Texas has not launched — or even legalized — sports betting.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with BetMGM,” Astros Senior Vice President, General Counsel Giles Kibbe said. “As we continue to strive for new ways to add to the fan experience, this partnership will provide another way for the Astros to engage with our fans.”
More Partnerships In Texas
The lack of legal sports betting in Texas has not prevented other sportsbooks from creating partnerships with pro sports teams in the state. The motivation stems from the fact that sportsbooks typically need to have a major partner based in the state where it hopes to launch its sports betting app.
The first such partnership between the Houston Dynamo and Fubo Gaming was announced in January 2022. Sportico reported that the deal could be worth as much as $178 million, which would make it among the richest partnerships for an MLS club.
Sportico reported that the deal came with a $10 million signing bonus and that Fubo would pay $1 million each year for marketing rights until sports betting is legalized in Texas. If sports betting is legalized, the partnership calls for Fubo to pay another $15 million to the Dynamo and then an additional $15 million per year for the next 10 years.
Since then, fellow MLS club Austin FC has announced a partnership with PointsBet.
In October 2021, the Dallas Mavericks announced a multi-year partnership with Betway, though it appears to only include the company’s free-to-play gaming arm.
Texas Sports Betting Update
The legalization of sports betting long has felt like a lost cause for Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott historically has been opposed to it, and in February 2021, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said there were no plans to pursue sports betting legislation.
Sports betting supporters did receive a glimmer of hope in April when gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke said during a press conference in Dallas that he would be inclined to support the legalization of sports betting
It’s only a glimmer of hope because the Democrat faces an uphill battle during his current campaign to unseat Gov. Abbott. Even if O’Rourke wins the election, the Republican-led state legislature would be another significant roadblock to the legalization of sports betting in Texas.
AP Photo/Ashley Landis