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BetMGM Announces Sports Betting Partnership With Cincinnati Reds As Ohio Launch Draws Near

James Murphy
by in MLB on
In Denver, fans who choose to ride the city's light rail system can do so in a BetMGM branded train.
  • BetMGM is now an ‘official sports betting partner’ of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Cincinnati Reds
  • Ohio sports betting is scheduled to launch on January 1, 2023.
  • BetMGM is looking to open a retail sportsbook at the Great American Ball Park.

After a bumbling start to Ohio’s sports betting ecosystem, the state is now lurching in the direction of a January 1, 2023 launch. That means similar goings-on to what we’ve seen in most other states with sportsbooks getting ready to go live as soon as they’re able. An important component is the marketing of the brand, which takes different forms depending on the corporate strategy. There’s never any shortage of sports betting companies looking to partner up with the area’s existing sports teams. Ohio has plenty of those and we know that BetMGM loves the ‘official partnership’ imprimatur. That’s no doubt why they’ve chosen to sign on with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Cincinnati Reds as an ‘Official Sports Betting Partner’ of the team.

There’s no indication that this is an ‘exclusive’ partnership but the Reds are definitely giving BetMGM some preferential treatment. BetMGM will be offering mobile sports betting in Ohio, but they’re also planning to open a retail sportsbook at the Reds’ home field aka the ‘Great American Ball Park’. This will be the brand’s second sportsbook at a MLB stadium–BetMGM Sportsbook at Nationals Park opened in January 2022. Here’s the details on where the the sportsbook will be:

The multi-year agreement includes plans to open a retail BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ball Park. The BetMGM Sportsbook will be in the space currently serving as the Machine Room restaurant on the northeast side of Great American Ball Park. It will only be accessible from outside the ticketed areas of the ballpark via the arena plaza level entrance. The new venue will allow fans to watch and wager on games all year long.

I hope that US sports betting will eventually mature to the point that the ‘only accessible from outside the ticketed areas of the ballpark’ disclaimer becomes unnecessary. If I can go to Baltimore and walk into Boog Powell’s BBQ restaurant directly from inside Camden Yards, there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to walk into a BetMGM sportsbook without going through the charade of ‘leaving the ballpark’ and walking next door. This isn’t a donkey show behind a bar in Tijuana. Grow up, already.

There will also be plenty of BetMGM branding all of the ballpark–you can enjoy this without having to leave the venue:

BetMGM signage will be prominently featured at Great American Ball Park, including a permanent outfield wall sign, messaging behind home plate, and a branded foul line during select games. BetMGM, which will have its own suite and club seats at the stadium, also plans to curate VIP experiences for its fans including on-field access during batting practice.

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt is one of the best press release quotes in the business. Here’s his ‘Cincinnati Reds’ drop:

“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of our plans to create the most entertaining and dynamic sports betting experiences in Ohio. Through our relationships with the Reds and MGM Northfield Park, we look forward to bringing unique BetMGM content to Ohio’s passionate sports fans.”

Doug Healy, Cincinnati Reds Chief Financial Officer, can barely hide his disdain for sports betting in his press release quote:

“With sports gaming coming to Ohio, the Reds sought to bring the highest quality operator to our ballpark for those fans who choose to participate in sports gaming. BetMGM is renowned for their expertise in entertainment and sports gaming, and we believe their brand best fits our high customer standards and will also help draw visitors to our city.”

Wow–‘fans who choose to participate in sports gaming’. Like it’s some sort of deviant fetish. Until further notice, the Reds will still welcome ‘fans who choose to partake in methamphetamine’ or ‘fans who choose to meet gentlemen at the rest area for a brief tryst’ just as if they were decent members of society. I get that the team can’t say it’s a blatant cash grab, but at least go with the ‘fan engagement’ trope.

Remember at the beginning of the article when I noted that BetMGM loves the whole ‘official partnership’ thing? They close the press release by rehashing the news that they’ve extended their deal with Major League Baseball as an ‘Official Sports Betting partner.’ The relationship with MLB predates the fall of PASPA–they were the league’s first-ever ‘Official Gaming Partner and Entertainment Partner’ way back in 2018.

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