Entering the latter half of 2022, there is still no legal sports betting in Texas. Not only that, but there's no timeline for when Texas sports betting might get official approval. And yet, none of this has stopped online sportsbooks from teaming up with pro sports franchises inside The Lone Star State.
In fact, the number of these relationships is only growing. Most recently, the online sportsbook Rush Street Interactive, which is owned and operated by BetRivers, struck an agreement with the Frisco Fighters of the Indoor Football League.
This is the first partnership between an online sportsbook and a professional sports franchise in Texas since MLB's Houston Astros inked their own deal with a sports betting partner in BetMGM, all the way back in May. The latest agreement has many wondering whether these relationships between betting operators and pro teams will become more common in the near future, even if Texas doesn't legalize sports betting.
Speaking of which: The deal also has many pondering the general future of sports betting in Texas, which continues to remain murky at best.
Details of Frisco Fighters Partnering with an Online Sportsbook
At this writing, the specific terms of the partnership between Rush Street Interactive and the Frisco Fighters isn't public knowledge. But the agreement was only just announced, so the full details should trickle out in the coming weeks and months. However, there are clues to what this deal will include when you read between the lines.
Consider what Frisco Fighters owner Steve Germain said on the partnership: "As we explore new ways to engage with our fans, the Frisco Fighters are proud to team up with RSI, a true pioneer in the online sports betting industry. This partnership proves our dedication to finding new moments for fans to get excited on game day and share in all the adrenaline that this league has to offer.”
These agreements are usually akin to extensive sponsorships. Rush Street Interactive will likely have their name plastered all over the Frisco Fighters' home arena, and they might even run out-of-state giveaways and getaways to Frisco Fighters fans.
Fans should also expect to see prominent signage and VIP areas with Rush Street Interactive's name located throughout various points of the stadium. That's essentially the goal of any online sportsbook with the partnerships: They want to raise awareness of—as well as accessibility to—their brand and services.
Why Do Online Sportsbooks Partner with Teams in Texas?
Why would an online sportsbook partner with a team in Texas when sports betting isn't yet legal in The Lone Star State? It's a fair question. After all, companies can't hope to make too much off their investment by alerting fans to services they can only provide them if they leave the state in which they're advertising.
In all likelihood, Rush Street Interactive—and, by extension, BetRivers—is banking on sports betting coming to Texas in the near future. There would be no reason to join forces with the Frisco Fighters otherwise. The Indoor Football League is only mildly popular in the United States, which limits how much business Rush Street Interactive can hope to drive toward their out-of-state operations. But if sports betting in Texas get legalized down the line, Rush Street Interactive and BetRivers will already have a footprint in the market—one that likely came at a discount given The Lone Star State's restrictive online gambling laws.
Should We Expect to See More of These Partnerships in Texas?
Truthfully, the deal between Rush Street Interactive and BetRivers likely isn't a harbinger of what's to come in Texas. If anything, this agreement is an anomaly. And that makes the current partnership between the Houston Astros and BetMGM even more of an anomaly.
See, it doesn't pay for most of the pro sports teams in Texas to prematurely invest in these agreements. Sure, they will get paid, but they'll be compensated only so much.
Sportsbooks won't fork over an arm and a leg to advertise and run programs in a state that doesn't actually support their business model. This essentially ensures most sports teams will wait until Texas legalizes online betting so that they can broker more lucrative deals rather than get locked into bargain-bin contracts that don't move the needle for their bottom line.
Online Sportsbook Partnerships with Texas Teams Are Still a Promising Sign
Please don't take anything we just said to mean the partnership between Rush Street Interactive and the Frisco Fighters is inconsequential. It absolutely matters.
No online sportsbook would throw any sum of money into a market without sports betting unless they believed the laws would invariably change. The investments made in Texas teams by BetRivers and BetMGM mean these companies think The Lone Star State is on the precipice of constitutional overhaul.
It's too early to tell whether this an accurate read of the situation. Texas has likely punted on any chance to legalize sports betting before 2024. Even so, big companies like BetRivers and BetMGM don't make these investments without the proper information. If they're getting into the Texas market, it's likely because legal online sports betting is considered an inevitability.
In the meantime, Texans looking to place wagers now should check out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. This catalog of reputable sites features many oddsmakers that will allow you to immediately set up an account. And aside from leaving the state to bet on sports, that's your best workaround to Texas' current gambling laws.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one works for all of your sports betting needs:
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