- Insiders are saying Texas may not see a legal sports wagering industry in 2021.
- Revenue from a sports betting market in Texas has seen estimates of generating $150 million annually if the pastime were legalized.
- Should a bill pass in 2021, voters would see the subject on their ballots in November for a launch in 2022 if sportsbook legalization received the majority vote.
AUSTIN, Texas – The Lone Star State houses one of the largest sports markets in the nation, but that won’t seem to matter when it comes to Texas sports betting legalization.
Two sports wagering proposals have been filed with the Texas Legislature, one in the House and one in the Senate, that would make the pastime legal.
However, legalizing the gambling on sporting events in the Lone Star State requires a constitutional amendment that some lawmakers just don’t see happening any time soon.
What’s Being Said About A Texas Sports Gaming Industry
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went on the radio with The Chad Hasty Show and spoke about the future of legal sports betting for Texas.
“I’ve never been in favor of it. Every year I say the same thing. Don’t talk about revenues. The teams and casinos trying to push sports betting say they could generate $150 million a year by their numbers. That’s a lot of money. But it pays for half a day of our yearly budget,” said Patrick. “People were fooled many years ago when they were told the lottery will pay for education. Well, the lottery pays for a couple of days of education. Our budget is $125 billion. So, if you want to pitch sports betting or casinos, talk about jobs, talk about tourism. Don’t talk about money because the members know better.”
Despite Patrick voicing his opinion on the outlook for sports gaming legalization, individual votes in the Senate are required to move either of the bills currently on the table forward.
There are 31 total votes in the Senate and any proposal would need 21 votes for residents in Texas to see sports wagering on their ballots in the Fall to weigh in on the subject and change the constitution to allow for sports gaming.
While there is opposition within the Legislature on the topic of gambling on sports, casinos and professional sports franchises and their stakeholders have spoken in favor of giving Texas a legalized sports wagering industry.
Proponents argue that Texans wager on sports every day with outside sources like offshore mobile sportsbooks. And although policymakers do not think there is enough potential revenue to consider an industry proposal, it would keep the consumer safe and provide revenue to Texas, even if it’s only enough to cover a “half a day” of the annual budget.
What’s Next For Texas?
Texas sports betting could be a very lucrative business if given the chance. The state is full of professional teams in various sports that have huge fanbases.
Governor Greg Abbott said he would not stand in the way of a legal sports wagering market for the Lone Star State if the people voted in favor of it.
The Texas Legislature adjourns on May 31. The two bills that have been filed have not yet received a time slot on the docket. But they have a few months to get their spot on the floor for consideration.
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Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.