Sports betting is not legal in Texas. That fact has not stopped sportsbooks from partnering with Texas sports teams. And not just the major squads. A sportsbook has partnered with a Frisco indoor football team.
Efforts over the years to legalize gambling, including Texas sports betting, have been unsuccessful. So it’s surprising that sportsbooks would find Texas teams so attractive to partner with.
A good example of this is Rush Street Interactive’s (RSI) recent press release from CEO Richard Schwartz. In it, the company praises the Texas Indoor Football League’s Frisco Fighters for their second consecutive playoff appearance.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Frisco Fighters and introduce our BetRivers brand to Texas. The Fighters care about its fans and invests in the state. This mirrors RSI’s commitment to investing in teams that support and provide entertainment to fans in their local markets.”
What the partnership means in the bigger context
RSI’s partnership with a relatively low-level sports franchise is a clear sign that sportsbooks see a future where sports betting is legal in Texas.
RSI also has a partnership with indoor football’s Arizona Rattlers. The Rattlers actually hold their own sports betting license. They are one of 10 professional sports teams that hold one.
That model would make sense in Texas. The state has 13 major league sports teams.
- NFL: Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys
- MLB: Texas Rangers, Houston Astros
- NBA/WNBA: Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Wings
- MLS, NWSL: Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash, FC Dallas, Austin FC
- NHL: Dallas Stars
Several of these franchises have partnerships with sportsbook operators.
- Astros: BetMGM
- Dynamo/Dash: Fubo Gaming
- Mavericks: betway
- Austin FC: PointsBet
- Texans: Caesars
What’s in a partnership with sports betting operators?
In general, partnerships include branding in a team’s stadium, sponsorship of various in-game, on-field entertainment segments and a presence in the team’s digital media operations.
While sportsbooks can’t take bets on Texas teams they sponsor, the brand recognition helps drive fan interest. That’s how Frisco Fighters owner Steve Germain sees it.
“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.”
Texas sports betting sponsorships are rolling in
The partnerships between sportsbooks and Texas professional sports teams have happened over the last year. BetMGM’s partnership with the Astros began in May. The Fighters’ deal went down in the spring. The Dash/Dynamo inked their Fubo collaboration in January.
The Texans, Austin FC and the Mavericks signed their deals in the fall of 2021.
These partnerships indicate that sportsbooks believe sports betting is imminent in Texas. How soon? That’s the magic question these days.
The most recent effort to legalize sports betting came from State Sen. Carol Alvarado and Reps. Edmund and John Keumpel. The bill they proposed would, among other things, allow the Legislature to regulate sports wagering.
While promising, the bill hasn’t made much movement in the Legislature since it was proposed in early-2021.