Elon Musk’s X, BetMGM Confirm Sports Wagering Partnership

In a groundbreaking deal in the social media and sports betting spaces, Elon Musk’s social platform X (formerly Twitter) announced earlier this month that it has formed an exclusive partnership with gaming operator BetMGM for sports betting. The deal signifies X’s continued push to diversify its revenue streams and expand into new areas like gambling as it seeks to reinvent itself under new owner Elon Musk.

Under the terms of the agreement, X will feature BetMGM’s latest betting odds and lines for various professional and college sporting events directly within the platform. Each game listing will include a link allowing users to seamlessly access BetMGM’s mobile app or website to place real-money wagers, should they be located in a jurisdiction where sports betting is legally permitted.

BetMGM operates one of the most popular sports betting platforms in 23 states, including gaming heavyweights like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois. The 50/50 joint venture between MGM Resorts International and online gaming company Entain holds sole rights to MGM’s US brick-and-mortar and online sports betting, high-stakes poker tournaments, and internet gaming operations.

How the new integration partnership works

Per an announcement made on February 16th, just days before the Sunday Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas that saw Kansa City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in a 25-22 win, BetMGM will power user experiences for those looking to place legal online sports wagers where BetMGM is licensed to operate. X launched sports betting capabilities to eligible users as part of the new functionality.

X has agreed to incorporate BetMGM’s odds data and branding as part of the agreement. Each game will have a direct link to BetMGM’s website and app, enabling users to make bets where it is legally allowed.

Users of X in the US will have access to the most up-to-date betting odds for NFL pro football from BetMGM, with other major professional and college sports to be included on a rolling basis.

The experience is directly integrated into the X app, with no need for external links. It aims to provide users seamless access to online sports betting where regulation allows. The operator said the interface for odds offers a simple way to access BetMGM’s app or website for each game, ensuring a smooth user experience.

However, X users must be located in one of the states where BetMGM is licensed to wager. Responsible gaming education and tools to help customers manage their activity will also be integrated into the X experience.

The exclusive deal brings sports betting to a massive audience

With sports one of the most popular topics on X, the platform offers tremendous potential reach for an operator like BetMGM to promote its brand and offerings. Based on recent surveys, nearly half of X’s user base visits the site for sports and entertainment updates.

The deal grants BetMGM exclusive access to this massive sports-loving audience for the first time. With millions of daily active users in the US discussing sporting events, X provides unmatched scale for customer acquisition.

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt touted the passionate sports community on X as an ideal target market. Meanwhile, Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost emphasized the partnership’s power to introduce sports betting to a huge new nationwide audience.

By surfacing relevant real-time odds data alongside live sports conversations, BetMGM can tap into X’s engaged crowds. The seamless integration seeks to boost BetMGM’s market reach in states with and without legal wagering. 

X essentially serves as a platform to acquire and scale its sports betting platform. This is especially true in states like New York, where legislators have recently introduced a bill to legalize online poker, casino gaming, and lottery.

Rolling out functionality gradually

The integration is planned to roll out in phases, with American football odds among the first featured. According to statements from both companies, additional sports will be added over the coming weeks as the partnership evolves. 

While initial implementations will focus on displaying odds information, the organizations hinted that further functionality may be incorporated.

According to X CEO Linda Yaccarino, the platform sees constant sports conversation among users. She stated that the new partnership allows those passionate fans to engage even more deeply by cheering for their favorite teams while accessing the latest betting lines and odds. 

The integration aims to provide users with a seamless sports betting experience without disrupting engagement with X’s social platform. BetMGM odds and betting functionality will be overlayed onto X displays. Essentially, the deal enables users to feel closer to the sports action happening in real time through integrated sports wagering capabilities.

On individual posts, users may see relevant odds from BetMGM underneath content related to sports outcomes. Users can click through to place bets without leaving X’s interface.

The partnership also provides opportunities for X creators to produce specialized betting content to engage their followers. Subject to state regulation, they can demonstrate wager placement and educate audiences on sports betting dynamics.

More than that, X will display unique promotions like free bets, odds boosts, and parlay insurance to encourage first bets and reward activity. The goal is to maintain an environment where users get value from the BetMGM integration instead of overly aggressive user acquisition tactics.

Responsible gaming front and center

With X’s massive reach, providing betting access to younger audiences is an obvious concern around this partnership, especially given that young men aged 18-44 are at elevated risk of developing problem gambling. However, BetMGM and X are putting responsible gaming front and center in their controlled sports betting partnership rollout.

X users must pass ID verification, geo-verification, and age-gating to ensure legal betting activity.

Ongoing checks will monitor problematic behaviors like chasing losses, and deposit limits can prevent users from overextending themselves financially. BetMGM and X will also provide problem gambling resources directly in the apps.

While critics argue that this exposure normalizes gambling with vulnerable groups, X and BetMGM believe proper controls provide positive exposure to regulated betting markets versus the alternatives.

Wrapping Up

The deal marks an exciting new chapter for both X and BetMGM. By combining X’s massive, engaged audience with BetMGM’s industry leadership in sports betting and responsible gaming, the integration aims to set a gold standard. It will be fascinating to see how the partnership innovates the experience of discussing and wagering on live sports events online in the months ahead.

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