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Gov. Abbott and Beto O’Rourke Support Legalizing Sports Betting in Texas

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated November 2, 2022
4 min read
  • TX Gov. Abbott and Challenger Beto O’Rourke Offer Different Takes on Sports Betting

  • In 2021, Texas Lawmakers Rejected Multiple Bills to Legalize Sports Betting

  • Three TX Neighbors – NM, AK, LA – Offer Legal Sports Gambling to Residents

Legalizing Sports Betting Texas

TX Gov. Abbott and Challenger Beto O’Rourke Offer Different Takes on Sports Betting

On November 8, Texas voters will choose their next Governor, and in the meantime, the two main candidates for that office have been sharing their thoughts on legalizing sports betting in the Lone Star State, and so far it looks like they are both in favor of it, sort of…

The incumbent Gov. is Republican Greg Abbott and his main competitor in this upcoming race is Democrat Beto O’Rourke, and these two pro-politicians understand the significance of the legal sports betting issue to TX voters watching neighboring states benefit from such markets.

The two candidates have offered their takes on whether Texas should legalize sports gambling for residents the way over thirty other states already have, and Gov. Abbott’s press secretary Renae Eze told the media that despite his fears Abbott was in favor of debating the issue:

“We don’t want slot machines at every corner store, we don’t want Texans to be losing money that they need for everyday expenses … But, if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Gov. Abbott would take a look at it."

Former Texas Rep. O’Rourke has reminded potential Texan voters that gamblers who live there are already making sports bets illegally and that by legalizing the activity it would be possible to create tax revenue for the state:

“From listening to Texans, [legalizing sports betting] is one, a very popular proposal, and two, it would also help us address some of the challenges we have in reducing inflation and property taxes in the state. So I think that warrants a very close look and it’s something I’m inclined to support.”

Though, it’s not like Texas lawmakers haven’t already tried.

In 2021, Texas Lawmakers Rejected Multiple Bills to Legalize Sports Betting

During last year’s legislative session, the issue of legalizing sports betting received some serious debate, and several related bills were even introduced but in the end, it was all just talk and all that potential legislation eventually died in committee.

Given that the Texas constitution outlaws gambling, any change to the gaming laws in that state would require a constitutional amendment or some clever legal workarounds that have yet to be invented, so the amount of litigious finagling required to legalize sports betting there is endless.

Add to that the fact that Texas lawmakers only meet every two years so they could not discuss it in 2022 and they won’t reconvene until January 10, 2023, so until then resident gamblers must resort to some old familiar options.

As Beto and most in-touch lawmakers understand, the reality is Texas bettors are already betting, they are just having to travel elsewhere to do it or else enlist the help of unregulated offshore sportsbooks or illegal local bookies.

That benefits everyone but Texas, including those out-of-country sportsbooks and neighboring states like New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana where sports betting has been made legal and are a relatively quick drive for anyone in Texas who lives near the border.

Talk is cheap but losing all that potential tax revenue is expensive so expect Texas lawmakers to mosey along and wrangle up a few compromises in that arena, and meanwhile, resident bettors will continue placing their wagers elsewhere until it is finally legal to bet locally.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: Caesars Palace Casino
23 years
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