PrizePicks, Dallas Stars Partner In Texas Market As Fantasy Sports Map Tightens

Written By

Updated on

fantasy sports

PrizePicks is partnering with the Dallas Stars, making a push in the largest state market without active scrutiny of fantasy sports pick’em games.

Dallas Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts told LSR Thursday that the franchise and the NHL spent “several months” legally clearing its partnership deal with daily fantasy sports operator PrizePicks before finalizing it. 

“It took several months before all the lawyers could get comfortable with moving forward, and that included our league lawyers,” Alberts told LSR. “I think they were looking into all these issues. So we went through a normal due diligence of all of this, but I’m comfortable with where we are now.”

PrizePicks, like other fantasy operators offering pick’em games, has faced discipline and scrutiny in other jurisdictions over its daily fantasy sports pick’em product. It agreed to pay a $15 million settlement in New York for operating without a license. It also pulled out of Florida amid pressure from the state regulator

Daily fantasy sports pact details

According to a Thursday news release, this is PrizePicks’ first partnership in Texas, and first with an NHL franchise. It includes TV game broadcast advertising spots, and advertising on the digital dasher boards.

“We are thrilled to further establish the PrizePicks brand alongside a great franchise like the Dallas Stars,” PrizePicks CEO and co-founder Adam Wexler said in a statement. “Texas is one of our most highly engaged markets, and hockey is one of our fastest growing segments. This partnership will accelerate our ability to enhance the gameday experience for fans.”

Alberts sees the potential longer-term value for the fantasy operator.

“I think they’re a company that’s trying to build brand recognition. Who knows what their long-term plan is. But they’re looking at Texas as a massive opportunity, which we all know that it is,” Alberts said. “And I think they want to use the NHL, with us being the only team in the state, to try to create some brand recognition around what they’re doing with daily fantasy. And what that ultimately may turn into, who knows.”

Stars have three gambling partners

The Stars have three gambling-related partnerships, with PrizePicks joining Jackpocket (recently acquired by DraftKings Sportsbook) and Choctaw Casinos (about an hour away from the team’s offices, in Oklahoma.) 

The NHL’s national sports betting deals with FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM and ESPN Bet “don’t factor into anything” for the Stars right now, Alberts said. 

“Now ultimately if sports betting were to legalize here, and then how that whole environment kind of unveils itself and looks like, who knows. We may have a partnership promoting ESPN Bet in Texas. That’s a story to be watched,” he added. 

Daily fantasy sports status in Texas

Sports betting and daily fantasy sports are currently unregulated in the Lone Star State

Last session, a bill passed through the House for the first time.

However, it quickly fell in the Senate, which is led by staunch gambling opponent Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Teams supporting fantasy, sports betting issues together

The Stars are, along with several Texas teams, part of the Sports Betting Alliance. Albert has served as the team’s representative in the SBA the past two sessions, having several political discussions with politicians and lobbyists on the matter. 

“I think the Lieutenant Governor, and then the Senate is definitely where this runs into snags,” Alberts said.  

Political climate makes passage tough

Patrick is slated to be in office for the next session. It makes Senate passage a daunting challenge come 2025

Asked what can change, Alberts responded:

“I don’t know. That’s literally maybe the billion-dollar question. I don’t want to speculate on politicians and their views. I think they should speak on their views. He clearly has had an opportunity legislatively to show interest in this, and he hasn’t. So I think that says it all. … So he’s going to have to change.” 

Texas also dealing with casino issue

The other significant gaming issue in the state is the future of resort-style casinos. 

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hopes to pass gambling legislation that would enable a casino to be built adjacent to the team’s next arena.

Those hopes only escalated after Cuban sold a majority stake in the Mavericks to the Adelson and Dumont families, who run Las Vegas Sands

Stars monitoring casino, resort legislative process

The Stars are a co-tenant with the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center

“I think we want to see where this all goes. You know how difficult and how long in some cases and how many things kind of have to line up — you can use New York as an example — to get brick-and mortar-casino licenses done,” Alberts said. “And in Texas there’s going to have to be an enormous process beyond the passing of the legislation to get to where we can execute on any vision. 

He continued, “So I think we’re interested in the concept. We are very well-aware of what Sands’ vision is. We’re having great discussions with them. And I think it’s just a matter of where does this all go? How much time does it take? Is it five years? Is it 10 years? Longer than 10 years? And if it’s longer than 10 years, why are we even talking about it? … We are not against any of it. We are very open to understanding it all. The reality is there’s just a lot of steps that have to be accomplished first.” 

Arena sportsbooks on the horizon?

Sports betting legalization could also open the pathway to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at the Dallas arena. 

“I think that’s an option. We are the only teams in Texas that share a building. So we’re the unicorn in the state. All the other teams don’t have to deal with another team playing in their building. We do. That makes it that much more unique for us. But yes, I think everything is on the table now,” Alberts said. “If something passes, what does it mean, and then we’ll figure out how we want to handle it.”