Baltimore Ravens, BetMGM Announce Partnership But Details Are Scant

Written By Derek Helling on May 19, 2021
baltimore ravens sportsbook

The operator for a Baltimore Ravens sportsbook at M&T Bank Stadium might be a done deal. Then again, it might not. It’s simply too early to tell whether the deal between the NFL franchise and BetMGM Sportsbook will include a retail book at the stadium right now.

What is obvious is that the two companies are collaborating for cross-promotion now that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has signed the sports betting bill into law. There are still questions about exactly what that collaboration will entail, though.

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Still too early to call on a Baltimore Ravens sportsbook

Tuesday’s announcement by BetMGM and the Ravens created more questions than it answered. Among those are:

  • Will the Ravens apply for a sports betting license?
  • Will the MD Stadium Authority, who owns M&T Bank Stadium, do that instead?
  • If so, will that then become part of the operational lease the Ravens have with the authority?
  • Does BetMGM intend to operate a retail sportsbook at the stadium?
  • If not, will there instead be a BetMGM-branded “betting lounge?”

A few things are clear, though. Fans at the stadium and visiting Ravens’ digital properties will likely be inundated with BetMGM marketing. On-site, that may be centered in a betting lounge if BetMGM doesn’t ultimately handle the brick-and-mortar sports betting operations.

The difference between a betting lounge and a fully-fledged retail sportsbook is that the former doesn’t actually allow for in-person wagering. It’s essentially a glorified sports bar with a sportsbook’s branding plastered around the space. BetMGM already has such a space at Ford Field, active during Detroit Lions games.

It’s entirely possible that the entirety of the BetMGM branding in the stadium could simply be signage, though. The partnership between the two brands could be digital-first, with special markets and promotions on Ravens games for Maryland legal sports betting online.

Regardless of the extent to which BetMGM has a physical presence at the stadium, it may not be alone. Nothing in the recent announcement suggested the deal had any degree of exclusivity to it.

Quoth the Ravens, give us more

The Ravens already had a gambling partnership. The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, a Caesars property, has been the Ravens’ official casino partner for years.

The Ravens might have wanted to give Caesars a first right of refusal in operating the retail book at the stadium due to that existing relationship. In this way, the Ravens could “double-dip.”

Getting sponsorship dollars from both BetMGM and Caesars might be a more lucrative situation than giving an exclusive deal to either partner. Baltimore could promote BetMGM online and then let Caesars handle the brick-and-mortar sports betting operations.

The deal is a win for BetMGM too, though. Adding the presence that BetMGM already enjoys in the DMV through its partnership with the Washington Nationals, the brand can expect to be a market share leader in the area.

Despite all the unanswered questions, Marylanders now know that the Ravens have an interest in at least promoting BetMGM. It could entail more than just marketing. It’s just too early to tell.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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