The Texas State Legislature 2023 began on January 10th and will convene on May 29th. That gives TX lawmakers 12 weeks to scrutinize and enact sports betting before death.
Three sports betting bills are now on their way through the committee and are due for debate in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate in the coming weeks.
HJR102 would authorize a state constitutional amendment, a measure needed to open the door to legal sports betting in the state of Texas.
HJR84 is an additional amendment to the TX Constitution that allows the Traditional Tribe of Texas to enter into a gaming contract with the state.
HJR97 is another change that would pave the way for real money casinos with sports betting. This bill would create the Texas Gaming Commission, which would regulate all gambling and sports betting businesses within the Lone Star State.
Those three bills were referred to the State Affairs Committee on Friday.
Gov. Greg Abbott has taken a somewhat positive stance towards TX sportsbook, but he’s not as enthusiastic about local casinos and the games they could potentially offer.
While Abbott views sports betting as a form of entertainment, he believes that casino gambling primarily involves games of chance where local residents simply throw their money away.
“We cannot have a system that also takes money out of the hands of people who need to be able to pay their bills and buy their food and lets them lose it in gambling where they then depend on the government. “
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Lobbying in Texas is strong, with support from regional professional sports franchises like the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and others.
For now, the country is largely immune to neighboring regions offering domestic sports betting, but that could change soon. Many local gamblers are opting for the legal Louisiana sports betting options.
Bettors can travel across the border to LA and use their mobile sports betting apps if they are at least 21 years old.
Arkansas also offers mobile sports betting, but it’s not particularly convenient unless you’re in the Northwest of the state.
The real threat right now is offshore sports betting sites, which have been taking members from inside TX for over two decades. A loophole in state and federal law allows gamblers in the US to become a member of sports betting sites that operate abroad.
This status is for TX and any monies spent at these international venues will not be taxed locally. The tax aspect will, and should, enforce the decisions of the legislator on this matter.
Total sports betting earnings published across the country are impressive, especially when gambling apps are included. TX’s population size and demand for sports betting is sure to garner one of the biggest handles in the country.
Now it just needs to be legalized.
Sources – Caller-Times, 12 News Now, The Dallas Morning News