How BetMGM’s Cincinnati Reds Partnership Could Help Its Kentucky Launch

Written By Steve Schult on July 24, 2023 - Last Updated on July 25, 2023
BetMGM Cincinnati Reds Kentucky

Thanks to a partnership with the most popular baseball team in Kentucky, BetMGM could take a larger-than-normal market share in the Bluegrass State.

Until Kentucky sports betting launches in September, gamblers in the state will need to leave the state to bet on sports legally — like they’ve been doing for years.

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky essentially form one metropolitan area crossing the Ohio River. So Cincinnati has seen plenty of Kentuckians crossing the border to bet online or in-person since Ohio legalized sports betting in January.

And with its BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ballpark, the home of the Cincinnati Reds, BetMGM is one of the most visible sportsbook brands in Cincinnati — and, by proxy, one of the most visible brands to transplant Kentuckian bettors.

Kentuckians love Cincinnati pro sports, BetMGM loves Cincinnati

The Queen City is Ohio’s southernmost city, home to 308,935 people and a city where many Kentuckians derive their professional sports fandom.

According to a 2015 survey by Vivid Seats, a ticket resale company similar to StubHub, the Cincinnati Reds were the most popular baseball team in Kentucky.

And, again, BetMGM owns a retail sportsbook at Great American Ballpark, the Reds’ home field. Well, actually, right next to Great American Ballpark. BetMGM announced recently it would move its Cincinnati retail sportsbook to The Banks, a multi-use development right across the street from the ballpark. The new venue will open in the fall. The current stadium sportsbook will remain open until then.

Betfred operates the retail sportsbook at the Cincinnati Bengals’ stadium. However, the European company indicated to PlayKentucky it doesn’t have plans to crack the Kentucky market.

Beyond operating a sportsbook at the stadium, BetMGM is also the official partner of the Reds.

In other words, any time a Kentucky baseball fan went to a Major League Baseball game, they likely saw the BetMGM branding plastered all over the ballpark. That’s quite a bit of advertising to a customer base that was essentially shut off from the sports betting world until recently.

There’s a good chance plenty of those fans placed a bet at BetMGM, too, and have already formed BetMGM accounts.

That’s a head start over the competition.

BetMGM should have more brand recognition than others

While BetMGM hasn’t announced a KY sports betting partner yet, the company is expected to get a Kentucky license.

In an interview with iGaming Business in June, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt hinted the company would add Kentucky to its long list of states it does business with.

Caesars Sportsbook Kentucky announced a partnership with Keeneland and Red Mile. FanDuel Kentucky has a deal with Churchill Downs Inc. Of the four largest sports betting companies, only BetMGM and DraftKings Sportsbook haven’t confirmed their partners.

On the other hand, BetMGM’s presence in Cincinnati may do wonders for its customer acquisition in Kentucky. Regardless of who its partner is.

Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, a new venue in Ashland, could be a contender for a BetMGM deal. Officials from Sandy’s told PlayKentucky it will partner with a “major brand.”

In 2022, BetMGM captured roughly 19% of the US sports betting market. But Kentuckians have already become familiar with the brand through its baseball fandom. As a result, it wouldn’t be crazy to see the Las Vegas-based gaming giant get a larger share in the Commonwealth.

Photo by AP / Aaron Doster
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Steve Schult

The Managing Editor of PlayKentucky, Steve Schult is a veteran of the gambling industry with more than a decade of experience covering the space. After earning his journalism degree from Marist College, the New York native began covering high-stakes poker tournaments and the U.S. gambling industry for various outlets. Following stints as a writer for Card Player Media, Bluff Magazine and the World Series of Poker, Schult joined Catena Media and has managed coverage for a handful of states.

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