Shortly before his untimely death early last month, Sheldon Adelson, multi-billionaire casino franchise owner and GOP megadonor sent a tribe of lobbyists to Texas in order to begin to lobby the Lone Star State’s lawmakers to begin to seriously consider introducing casinos for Texas and coming along for the ride would be legal online sports betting. It’s seems that move is beginning to yield its first fruit as the Lone Star State’s lawmakers consider what could become Sheldon Adelson’s legacy – legal Texas Sports betting.
Just last week, Democratic Texas State Senator Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa and Republican State House Representative Dan Huberty lodged matching sports betting legalization bills in their respective houses and in doing so, gave the state its first-ever bipartisan support for legalized sports wagering.
One of those bills proposes a model whereby it would allow for the state’s voters decide if they want to amend the state constitution to legalize sports wagers. The other bill lays out what the rules regulating sports betting would potentially be.
How Texas could potentially benefit from Sports Betting
The two lawmakers assert that Texas stands to generate $1.8 billion over 10 years for funding of a range of State Government programs, infrastructure and services if sports betting becomes legal, and they estimate that, right now, $5 billion in illegal bets are placed each year that the government coffers are missing out on.
Similar to New York, California and Florida, sports betting industry analysts and experts see massive potential when it comes to the state of Texas. Texas has the second-largest population of any U.S. state, and a legalized sports betting industry in the Lone Star State would have the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars and create thousands of much-needed jobs on an annual basis.
Now that Hinojosa and Huberty’s bills have been filed, they will need to be assigned to committees for review and hearings in their respective state houses.
Getting Texas Betting Teams Onboard will be crucial to success
While legalized sports betting still faces an uphill battle in Texas, the state’s major sporting teams in the Dallas Mavericks, the Cowboys and Rangers have united in their support of sports wagering, and they are a powerful lobby group when working together.
Some of the Texas-based sports franchises already have stake in the sports betting industry. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is member of a consortium that holds an ownership stake in leading online sportsbook DraftKings, while Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of the investors in sports betting data firm, Sportradar.
The new bill would also allow the states sports teams and greyhound and horse racing tracks around the state to operate sportsbooks of their own in-house sportsbooks.
Charlotte Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer for the Dallas Cowboys, said in a media interview just last week;
“Unregulated and illegal sports gambling is already taking place in the State of Texas. Legalized sports betting would regulate the industry and generate hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue for the state which will help fund critical programs without raising taxes.”
On the flip side, there are interests pushing for only bricks-and-mortar casino gambling expansion legalization in the state, and there is opposition to all forms of gaming expansion from religious group and nearby Oklahoma tribal casinos.
The House Joint Resolution backed by Representative Huberty seeks to amend the state constitution in order to authorize the state legislature to vote to legalize sports betting. If that were to happen, the Lone Star State’s voters would receive the opportunity to approve or reject legal sports betting this coming November.
We will let you know how it plays out.