Texas Legislature.

  • Texas is seeing more sports betting bill proposals as two more have just been filed to legalize the pastime.
  • It is projected that millions of dollars could be seen in annual revenue from a legal sports wagering market in Texas.
  • The Texas Legislature adjourns on May 31 for the year.

AUSTIN, Texas – The famous Las Vegas Sands has a vision for Texas and that vision includes state of the art sports betting and gambling facilities for destination vacations which is why the gaming conglomerate is backing legislation to legalize sportsbooks in the Lone Star State.

On Tuesday, a House bill and a Senate bill were filed that would allow for four resorts in the biggest cities of the state; Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

These resorts would offer casino games including table games and slot machines and have sportsbooks on the premises as well.

Opposing Sides For Texas

There are multiple proposals swirling within the Texas Legislature for 2021 regarding sports betting legalization and gambling in general. Everyone from residents to professional sports organizations has been advocating to legalize sports wagering in Texas. Many of the other bills that have already made their way through the introduction phase have not seen much more action than that, a clear indication of a lack of interest on the subject in the legislature.

While Texans and those within the sports industry are seeking to have a legal Texas sportsbook market, lawmakers that have the final say are less than enthusiastic about moving forward in this area. The Lone Star State is one of the bigger states in the nation but is also very conservative in its views for betting in every form. It takes quite a bit of push for policymakers to crossover into legal gaming territory every time the subject has come up in the past.

This latest bill duo coming from the Las Vegas Sands differs from other proposals as they’ve already set the locations for their resorts within the draft. And it would allow for all gaming, not just sports betting. It comes off as legislation geared toward the tourism and hospitality industry of Texas rather than the gaming market.

“We appreciate the work of the bill’s sponsors (Rep. John Kuempel, Rep. Toni Rose, and Senator Carol Alvarado) and we are excited to engage in further discussion with elected leaders and community stakeholders on the possibilities for expanding Texas’ tourism offerings through destination resorts,” said Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands senior vice president.

These bills would legalize “destination resort licenses” that would encompass Class I, Class II, and Class III gaming licenses. There would be a 10% tax on table games and a 25% tax on slot machines and games like it. No set tax percentage has been mentioned for sports betting. The three Tribes of Eagle Pass, El Paso, and Livingston would all be eligible for licenses to operate sportsbooks and the various gaming made available through these proposals.

Famous sports bettor from Houston, Mattress Mack, believes it’s high time that the Lone Star State legalize sports betting. Mack has made headlines for quite a while by gambling millions on sporting events but he has had to go outside the state in order to do it which is all money that is lost for Texas without an industry of its own.

What’s Next For Texas?

Texas has a long way to go to make sports betting a legal pastime in the state. Despite numerous backers and different pieces of legislation to get a legal market off of the ground, lawmakers have not yet been convinced.

There is still time to make this happen as the Texas Legislature adjourns for 2021 on May 31. More proposals have time to be filed and others could receive their time on the floor for discussions.

Until the day comes where sports bettors in Texas will see a legal sports wagering industry of their own, gamblers will continue to use internet sportsbooks to bet on sports matchups. All of that is money left on the table for the economy of the Lone Star State.

But maybe the continued push from professional home teams, residents, advocates within the legislature, and now a business as big as the Las Vegas Sands will have policymakers opening their eyes to see how lucrative an industry sports gaming could be for Texas and legalize the activity in 2021.

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