BetMGM CEO Thinks Texas Will Get Sports Betting Before California

Written By Phil West on March 13, 2024
Green check in Texas outline next to silhouette of man winning race for story on BetMGM CEO saying TX will get sports betting before CA

At a recent iGaming and sports betting summit, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt revealed something surprising: His company is betting on Texas to adopt sports betting legislation before California does.

Both states remain major potential prizes in the US sports betting industry as just two of 12 states that don’t have some form of legalized sports betting. With a combined total of nearly 70 million people according to the most recent Census Bureau figures, the two behemoth states are home to a little more than 20% of the US population.

And change could be on the horizon.

Last week, at NEXT Summit New York 2024, which bills itself as “the foremost online gambling and sports betting summit in North America,” Greenblatt shared a glimpse into BetMGM’s plans when he said,

“California is not in our near-term model. Texas is.”

The earliest any movement could come is 2025

Texas can’t revisit sports betting legislation until 2025, as its legislature only convenes every two years. In 2023, the last time the lawmakers convened, the House passed a Texas sports betting bill, but the Senate, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, didn’t take up the bill before the session ended.

Meanwhile, if recent comments from FanDuel President Christian Genetski bear out, Californians could be looking at 2026 or beyond before a successful sports betting legislation campaign could be mounted.

Greenblatt noted that the recent alliance between Mark Cuban and the Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Adelson and Dumont families, forged via the latter’s purchase of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and Cuban’s continued involvement in the team’s day-to-day operations, could impact the ongoing debate. He noted:

“The team owners in Texas are very influential.”

Former Gov. Rick Perry could be an influential advocate

It’s also notable that one state official with considerable tenure, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has partnered with Texas pro sports franchises to create the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, a coalition described on its site as a group of “professional sports franchises, pro sports leagues, racetracks, motorsports, and betting platforms to legalize and regulate sports betting because Texans deserve the freedom and safety to enhance the experience of the sports they love.”

Perry is pledging to be involved in 2025 legislative efforts, even with fellow Republican Patrick as a significant obstacle to advancing a bill in the Senate.

Photo by PlayTexas
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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