Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Supports Legalization of Texas Sports Betting

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  • Jones’ comments are parallel to those of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
  • The Cowboys are America’s most-popular NFL team
  • Several NFL teams have in-stadium sportsbooks already

If a playoff win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn't keeping him busy enough, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is campaigning for Texas sports betting.

Many states around America—36 to be exact (plus Washington D.C.)—already have legal sports betting markets. Texas, however, remains one of the few states that have not kept up with the times. Jones is encouraging lawmakers to consider the positives that would come from reversing the precedent.

Other influential figures have already come out in support of sports betting in Texas, including former Governor Rick Perry. However, the finish line is still a long way away.

Analyzing Jones’ comments

Jones delivered his support of a review of sports betting last Friday on 105.3 The Fan, a Dallas radio station.

“I think it’s really a thing that needs to be addressed at this time,” said Jones. “There’s a huge amount of gaming going on in and around sports at this time. And, so, to have all of the benefits or all of the control over it, it needs to be recognized and parameters put on it and discipline put in it.” 

Jones’s stance closely mirrors that of Abbott, who was a strong critic of sports betting during his time in office from 2002-15. Abbott still does not support the widespread growth of gambling, but he believes that there need to be regulations on the current gambling scene—one that he acknowledges exists.

“I’m not in favor of expansion of gambling,” Perry said in an interview. “This is a regulation of something that’s going on, and it’s not going to go away.” 

Another reason that Jones wants lawmakers to take a look at the issue is the benefits that would come from legalization at the state level. A tax on gaming revenue would allow Texas to heavily invest in school systems, public health outlets, and infrastructural development. 

For example, 63% of Austin’s 2,506-person homeless population was unsheltered, according to a 2021 report from The Texan. Houston was up at 49% (of 3,055 total), and San Antonio was at 43% of 2,932.

But while Texas needs the tax funds to improve its inner workings, other nearby states like New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana are stealing the cut by offering legal gaming services.

Sports betting meets the NFL

Buried behind Jones’ state-friendly stance is the motivation of personal gain. As the majority owner of the Cowboys, he would benefit massively from his team’s popularity and facilities.

There’s also an interesting opportunity for the integration of sports betting at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where the Cowboys play their home games. If Jones opted to, and assuming sports betting was legalized, he could erect a sportsbook or betting lounge inside the $1.3 billion arena.

The Arizona Cardinals launched a BetMGM sportsbook on their stadium’s campus ahead of the 2022 NFL season, becoming the first NFL team to place a sportsbook in their home territory. The Washington Commanders also recently announced they are dropping a BetFanatics-sponsored sportsbook inside of FedEx Field.

Notably, NFL rules prevent in-stadium sportsbooks from operating on days in which the host team is in action. The Cardinals circumvented that rule by placing the sportsbook on the stadium’s campus but outside of the physical arena.

Whether sportsbooks pop up inside AT&T Stadium or not, the Cowboys would be the biggest draw for local bettors. According to NBC Sports, the Cowboys are the most popular NFL team in America, which is why they are commonly referred to as “America’s Team.”

Owners of the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Rangers have also been behind the idea of sports betting in the Lone Star state. Houston Rockets owner, Tilman Fertitta, runs the Golden Nugget line of casinos and would likely be following the same train of thought.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.