Texas billionaire and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is the latest to express his support for proposed sports betting legislation. The first bills to legalize online sports wagering were recently filed at the Texas Capitol.
Of course, Fertitta’s support of legal sports betting in Texas shouldn’t come as a surprise. Fertitta struck a massive deal with DraftKings two years ago, and he’s donated more than a million dollars to Texas political leaders. The billionaire also owns several casinos across the country, most of which offer sports betting.
Fertitta enjoys a billion-dollar partnership with DraftKings
Other big names in the state have shown their support for legal sports betting in Texas. Other Texas pro sports team owners, like Jerry Jones and Jim Crain, have been vocal in their support.
In August 2021, Fertitta sold online betting rights at his Golden Nugget casinos to DraftKings for $1.56 billion. The deal included an agreement that DraftKings would be the source for exclusive daily fantasy sports, betting and iGaming partner of the Houston Rockets.
Additionally, should sports betting become legal in Texas, DraftKings would open a sportsbook at the Toyota Center, home of the Rockets.
Fertitta touted the deal with DraftKings at the time.
“Leveraging Fertitta Entertainment’s broad entertainment offerings and extensive customer database, coupled with DraftKings’ mammoth network, makes this an unbeatable partnership.”
Fertitta’s ownership group operates several Golden Nugget casinos across US
Since sports betting and casinos are still illegal in Texas, Fertitta has taken his billions of dollars outside The Lone Star State. He owns several Golden Nugget casinos.
Besides Fertitta Entertainment owning Golden Nugget casinos in downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin in Nevada, the company owns Golden Nugget casinos in Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi and Atlantic City.
Recently, Fertitta increased his shares in Wynn Resorts. He is the second-largest shareholder after Elaine Wynn. He owns 6.1% of the company with 6.9 million shares. Rumors have swirled about a possible corporate takeover after Fertitta’s purchase. He bought the stock at under $60 per share. Today, shares are at $108, almost double his $385 million purchase.
The billionaire has also bought six acres on the Las Vegas Strip. He plans to build a 43-story, 2,420-room resort and hotel.
Fertitta has given more than $1 million to Texas political leaders
Fertitta regularly donates money to the campaigns of Texas’ most powerful political leaders. He has contributed over $1.8 million.
He’s donated the most money, $912,250, to Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign. He gave $300,000 in 2022 to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the second of two six-figure contributions. The rest of his donations have been from $1,000 up to $75,000.
In terms of political stance, Fertitta shows support to both Republicans and Democrats.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was appointed to the Strike Force to Open Texas group by Abbott. The group was tasked with figuring out safe ways to reopen the state after lockdowns shuttered most businesses across Texas.
If and when sports betting becomes legal in Texas, Fertitta is well-positioned to strike it rich.