BetMGM announced Monday a partnership with the Houston Astros to be the team’s exclusive sports betting partner, marking the first BetMGM partnership established in Texas.
Although Texas sports betting isn't legal, nor does that state have retail casinos for that matter, this partnership should open the door to having access in Texas for BetMGM. You can expect to see other partnerships announced between professional teams in Texas and sportsbook operators before the state legalizes sports betting.
Texas (about 29.7 million) is one of the “Big 3” markets that has yet to launch legal sports betting along with California (about 39.6 million) and Florida (about 22 million) — the three biggest markets by population in the U.S. The fourth state on the highest-population list is New York, and it has been setting national records for sports betting handle and taxes paid to the state since launching in January.
“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 in a news release. “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.”
More Details of the Deal
BetMGM signage will be featured at Minute Maid Park, including a permanent outfield wall sign and rotational promotional messaging behind home plate, according to the news release. The wagering platform will also offer special betting promotions to its customers in Louisiana.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with BetMGM. 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,” Giles Kibbe, senior vice president & general counsel for the Astros, said in the release.
Fans will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of VIP experiences exclusive to BetMGM customers, including throwing out the first pitch, on-field access to batting practice, and VIP getaways for away games, the release said.
The Astros (18-11), winners of seven straight games, are currently a half game behind the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West as they begin a nine-game road trip Tuesday. It starts with a three-game series at the Minnesota Twins.
When Will Texas Approve Sports Betting?
Unfortunately for would-be bettors in Texas, the state legislature only meets in odd years, so the next time sports betting and casino bills could be discussed is 2023. Depending on if or when a bill gets passed, then it will need to be signed by the governor, and a measure will go on the ballot in November to amend the state constitution to allow for sports betting.
The state would still have to set up regulations and a governing body for sports betting after approval from voters. So realistically, mid to late 2024 would be a best-case estimate to launch sports betting, and it could be even later.
An organization supported by pro teams in Texas (including the Astros), the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, was started in late 2020. It is working to keep sports betting on the front burner when the legislature reconvenes in 2023.
In addition to the pro teams, some of the top sports betting operators like DraftKings Sportsbook Texas are backing the effort, according to the alliance’s website.