Rep. Harold Dutton

  • Texas has a sports betting bill on the table, House Bill 1121, that would legalize a completely online and mobile sports wagering market in the state.
  • The Texas Legislature has until May 31 to decide on the bill and others like it that would make sportsbooks legal for the Lone Star State.

AUSTIN, TexasTexas is joining the legal sports betting bill party that is trending among sessions in other states across the country for 2021. Lawmakers have introduced two bills so far, one of which is already receiving more attention than the other.

Historically, Texas has been known for its highly conservative views on gambling and any type of industry that promotes it or tries to expand upon it in their state.

With that said, there is no telling how sports betting proposals will fare in the Texas Legislature but more and more lawmakers are warming up to the idea, especially when the state’s professional sports teams are also in favor of legalizing the pastime.

The Bill With The Best Chance

House Bill 1121, sponsored by Representative Harold Dutton, is taking a page from Tennessee’s sports wagering market and asking for a purely mobile and internet sportsbook industry.

No more details on application fees, operator caps, or similar points of information were currently made available as the proposal has just been introduced. The tax rate was something that was divulged within the first reading though and it’s been set at 6.25% on all GGR received from these sports betting outlets.

Legalizing sports betting in Texas without the need for land-based sportsbooks seems like the easiest compromise to open up a legal market without getting into a back-and-forth argument on how and where locations for sports betting would be in the state.

The best example of how this could prove to be problematic among those voting on legalization is to look at the other bill on the table, House Bill 477. This bill would open sports gambling venues only at specific casinos on the coast which could pose issues for anyone else in the state that would like to enter the industry.

The Lone Star State is home to a lottery, horse racing tracks, two Tribal casinos, and a few other gambling options.

But proponents of the bills argue they have been losing money through not allowing legal state-sanctioned sportsbooks as Texas is known for its huge fanbase of sports fans. This is especially when it comes to their own teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Astros, and so many others.

They also argue that residents in the state use outside outlets or travel to other states to gamble on the games of their favorite home teams.

What’s Next For Texas

With Texas in need of funds because of the huge budget gaps that the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused, the Texas Legislature may be more open to discussions on sports betting legalization.

House Bill 1121 could aid in the process of recouping funds if given enough consideration and floor time during the 2021 session for passage.

The Texas Legislature convened for their 87th session on January 12. They will adjourn for the year on May 31.

These bills for sports wagering legalization as well as others that may be introduced from now until then have a chance to give the Lone Star State its own sports betting industry. The destiny for legal sportsbooks for Texas in 2021 will be known by the end of May.

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