BetMGM is further expanding its MLB team partnerships with the Houston Astros.
The MGM Resorts iGaming and sportsbook operator today announced an agreement with the 2017 World Series champions to become the team’s “exclusive Sports Betting Partner.” The arrangement is BetMGM’s first relationship in Texas.
The pact provides BetMGM with a permanent sign on the outfield wall. The BetMGM logo will also be displayed behind home plate on a rotating advertisement board.
The Houston Astros are a monumental addition to our portfolio of strategic partnerships with professional sports teams across the US,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. “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.”
Since the US Supreme Court in 2018 struck out the federal ban on sports betting and gave such lawmaking powers to individual states, Major League Baseball has greatly lessened its resistance to the US gaming industry. MGM Resorts, soon after the landmark SCOTUS decision, became an Official Gaming Partner of MLB.
BetMGM has partnered with numerous MLB teams. Along with the Astros, BetMGM is an official partner of the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Texas state lawmakers have maintained their staunch opposition to commercial gambling, despite recent heavy lobbying from the industry. Las Vegas Sands, which today has no domestic casinos after completing its Strip assets sale in February, spent as much as $20 million trying to convince Texas lawmakers to legalize integrated casino resorts last year.
Texas has also been targeted by sports betting interests. With Texas having the second-largest population behind only California, sportsbooks are teaming up with Texas sports teams in hopes of gambling one day coming to the Lone Star state.
BetMGM’s deal with the Houston Astros follows the Austin FC and Houston Dynamo respectively striking sports betting marketing partnerships with PointsBet and Fubo Gaming.
But for now, commercial gambling, including sports betting, remains illegal throughout Texas. As a result, BetMGM says its Astros sponsorship pact will actively target sports bettors in neighboring Louisiana. BetMGM customers in Louisiana will be marketed with special betting promotions and incentives involving the Astros.
Integrity is a core component of expanded sports betting. The “big four” pro sports leagues in the US — the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL — continue to maintain that game integrity must not be violated or put in jeopardy as a result of more easily accessible sports gambling channels.
The Houston Astros remain one of MLB’s least-popular teams outside of Texas. That’s because of the franchise’s sign-stealing scandal that rocked the sport two years after their 2017 World Series title. The Astros were determined by MLB to have engaged in a sign-stealing scheme that involved the use of cameras and the banging of a drum to alert the Houston batter as to what type of pitch was forthcoming.
Though MLB concluded that Houston cheated during its 2017 season and World Series victory, the league did not revoke the Astros’ title.
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