Sports betting and digital gaming company BetMGM announced Monday that the company now is the exclusive Sports Betting Partner of MLB's Houston Astros. This marks BetMGM's first relationship in Texas.
"The Houston Astros are a monumental addition to our portfolio of strategic partnerships with professional sports teams across the U.S.," 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."
Under the agreement, BetMGM signage will be prominently featured at Minute Maid Park. This includes a permanent outfield wall sign and rotational promotional messaging behind the home plate.
Astros fans will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of VIP experiences exclusive to BetMGM customers. These include throwing out the first pitch, on-field access to batting practice, and VIP getaways for away games, among others. BetMGM and the Astros also will team up to offer special betting promotions for BetMGM customers in Louisiana.
With both retail and mobile offerings, BetMGM currently operates in 23 markets. The BetMGM Sportsbook and BetMGM Casino apps are accessible on both iOS and Android, as well as, via desktop.
Giles Kibbe, Senior Vice President, General Counsel for the Astros, said: "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."
The move comes as efforts take place to legalize sports betting in Texas, the home state of the Huston Astros. According to estimates, the state's sports betting market would instantly become one of the most lucrative in the US if it becomes legal.
In April, candidate for Texas governor Beto O’Rourke said he would consider supporting casino gaming and legalizing sports betting in the state in an effort to decrease property taxes. He argued the state could potentially collect billions of dollars through regulation of gambling and sports betting.
The Texas Constitution prohibits the expansion of gaming, a provision that Gov. Abbott has supported and that the Republican-held legislature has not made much effort to modify. A change to the constitution on this issue would require two-thirds of the House and Senate to support putting a measure on the ballot.
Furthermore, casino interests from outside of the state have also long sought to persuade lawmakers to approve the development of integrated casino resorts across Texas. Among them is Las Vegas Sands, which has invested millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to that end. The company’s efforts failed earlier this year, however, executives said they planned to revive efforts for the next legislative session.
In February, Sands launched a new political action committee to strengthen its push for casino legalization: The Texas Sands PAC. The company seeks to build support by leveraging the argument that billions of tourism and gambling dollars leave the state yearly for neighboring states that already allow casinos.