Connor McDavid becomes first active major-league star to partner with sportsbook

BetMGM has announced a partnership with reigning NHL MVP Connor McDavid that will see the Edmonton Oilers captain and leading star join the company as a brand ambassador.

McDavid is the first active player in a major U.S. professional league to endorse a regulated North American sportsbook. He will join NHL great Wayne Gretzky in an ambassadorial role.

The All-Star will be featured in BetMGM’s upcoming marketing campaigns, promotions, social media content, and fan events.

“I am very excited to partner with BetMGM as they continue to shape the future of sports betting,” said McDavid. “It’s also a real honour to be on the same BetMGM team with star athletes like Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Garnett, both of whom I admire very much.”

BetMGM, a joint venture between MGM Resorts and European betting giant Entain, is the largest iGaming platform in the U.S. and is gaining market share in sports betting, finishing last year with about 15 per cent of the country’s online sports betting market, making it the third-largest operator behind FanDuel and DraftKings, according to data from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.  It has been touted as a potential major player in the Ontarian and Canadian market.

BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost said: “The accomplishments that Connor already has earned on the ice is astonishing and we are excited to welcome him to the BetMGM family. We look forward to working together to engage BetMGM players across North America.”

Whether or not the alignment with one of Albertan sports’ biggest stars is indicative of BetMGM having designs on being one of the province’s two initial sports betting proponents remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the NHL has been exploring opportunities for partnerships with sportsbooks in recent months, particularly since the legalization of single-event sports betting in Canada in summer 2021.

Last month, Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews signed a deal with grey-market Canadian sportsbook Bet99 which reportedly covers just the operator’s free-to-play game.

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