This seems slightly concerning.
As reported by Fortune, X has signed a new deal with MGM Resorts’ online gambling subsidiary BetMGM, which will soon see betting odds displayed on X, along with links that guide users to place bets via BetMGM’s service.
Which seems like a questionable match, and one that will be difficult to police, based on variable laws in different regions around online betting promotions.
But then again, betting ads and displays of odds are already well embedded into live event coverage, and with X being the main focus for online engagement around live events, the partnership also makes sense.
The initial code for the update is already in the back-end of the X app, with X News Daily sharing this updated code string earlier today:
So X will seemingly display different odds elements, via linkage to BetMGM, but it won’t facilitate bets in-stream, which would be a far more significant step.
What will be most interesting about this integration will be how it impacts X’s approach to gambling promotions, and whether it needs to update its rules to allow for this new initiative.
As per X’s current regulations:
“X prohibits the promotion of gambling content, except for campaigns targeting specified countries where it is allowed with restrictions as explained below.”
Within those rules, you can also see the range of different laws around gambling promotions, which will limit exactly what X can do in this arrangement. But even so, BetMGM would no doubt be very keen to use X’s audience reach to maximize betting activity.
Though how regulatory groups feel about the same will be a whole other consideration.
Indeed, regulatory bodies in the U.S., and in other nations, are already looking to implement new rules to restrict sports betting promotions, due to concerns around the potential harm caused by gambling, particularly among younger audiences.
Within this, having betting odds promoted within X, where a lot of real-time discussion around sports events is happening, seems likely to prompt more concern, and bring more scrutiny onto the Musk-owned platform.
But at the same time X needs to start bringing in money.
The platform’s ad revenue is still reportedly down around 50% on pre-Elon levels, while Musk continues to share his often controversial opinions on various hot button topics, which have even drawn a rebuke from the President.
That’s unlikely to make Elon dial it back, and as the platform’s most influential user, his own activity remains the key impediment to the platform maximizing its advertising potential.
As such, X needs to find alternative sources of income, and promoting gambling odds could be one way to do it.
But it’s another step in a concerning direction for the app. Sure, this would fall under Elon’s “freedom of speech” approach, and there may not be anything technically wrong with this type of in-stream promotion.
But it could also be another step towards X looking to monetize more questionable elements.
Remember, Twitter did once consider monetizing adult content in the app, and capitalizing on the presence of porn via tweets.
I would not be surprised in the slightest if Elon was also considering this as a potential option.