At SXSW Conference, Longtime Sports Betting Industry Vet Hopes Texas Will ‘Move Forward’

Written By Phil West on March 22, 2024
Austin, TX where panel discussed future of online sports betting in Texas

Thanks to the likes of Mark Cuban, Miriam Adelson and Tilman Fertitta weighing in on the future of sports betting in Texas, some industry watchers are expecting a robust campaign in the Lone Star State when its Legislature reconvenes in 2025.

Add Sue Schneider to the list of those predicting forward momentum on Texas sports betting.

Last week, at the annual SXSW Conference in Austin, Schneider — dubbed the “godmother of sports betting” by Stadia Ventures’ Managing Director Tim Hayden — looked at a sports betting industry that’s transformed dramatically since she first entered it in 1995.

SXSW panel of sports betting industry all stars

The Betting on the Future of Sports Betting panel featured Schneider, currently VP of Growth & Strategy, Americas at Sports Betting Community, alongside Hayden and Peter Scott, chief strategy officer for Play Anywhere.

Spectrum News, covering the conference, quoted Schneider as saying,

“I would hope that by next year, you’d see Texas move forward.”

But the story also noted that Schneider wasn’t entirely hopeful that the Legislature would act beyond what happened in the most recent 2023 session, when the Texas House passed sports betting legislation but saw it go nowhere in the Texas Senate. The Senate is controlled by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has been unfriendly to past gambling bills.

Schneider said “I don’t know what to say about Texas. First of all, they only meet every other year, that Legislature, so this is an off year. Next year, they’ll be back.”

But she did note that thanks in part to Cuban’s increasingly visible allegiance with Las Vegas Sands Corp. principals in steering the Dallas Mavericks forward, “There’s some anticipation that at some point, there really is going to be legislation here.”

Fertitta, the Houston Rockets‘ owner and an owner of several Golden Nugget casino resorts, is talking about bringing destination casino resorts to Texas along with an NHL team. Cuban and the Adelson and Dumont families run the Mavericks together, and they’re also expressing visions for destination resorts in North Texas once they’re legal there.

Schneider forecast that Texas would eventually be part of a group of almost all states in the US providing legal sports betting. But she stopped short of predicting all 50 would come along, observing,

“I do think we’re not going to see Utah do it. We’re not going to hit 50. We used to say we would not ever see it in Hawaii, because Hawaii didn’t really have any gaming, but they actually have had some legislative efforts in the last couple of years to at least knock [around] the idea of it. I could see where ultimately you would be in the upper 40s.”

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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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