Sorry Lone Star gamblers, sports betting is still illegal in Texas despite the fact that your state is surrounded by plenty of neighbors who have already legalized sports betting including New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana, though Sen. Carol Alvarado (D) is working to change all that.
Alvarado is a Texas lawmaker who on Tuesday pre-filed some proposed legislation that would legalize sports betting in that state and add Texas to a growing list of over thirty other states where that activity has been made legal thanks to their lawmakers, governors, and voters.
For sports betting to become legal in Texas, the state constitution would have to be amended so any legislation related to that issue must have a plan to make that happen, plus that bill would need two-thirds support by the state legislature and approval by the majority of resident voters.
The alternative is to let bettors there continue to gamble elsewhere as we covered in How Mattress Mack Crossed TX State Lines to Win $75M Sports Betting, a breakdown of how Texas gamblers must cross state lines or use unregulated offshore sportsbooks to make their bets.
That would end if Alvarado’s proposed legislation were to pass into law, which would also financially benefit the state Senator’s political position.
Follow the money in this case and it eventually leads to the casino lobbying dollars that Senator Alvarado’s campaign receives in spades – the southeast Houston representative also happens to be one of the largest recipients of political donations from casino interests in Texas.
The only ways to gamble legally in Texas include the Texas Lottery, parimutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing, charitable bingo, pull-tabs, and raffles, plus there are three Indian casinos there, all with an interest in bringing legal sports betting to the Lone Star State.
Legal sports betting is big business in the U.S. now that the Supreme Court has overturned PASPA in May 2018 and allowed each state’s residents decide if they want to legalize, regulate, and tax their own sports betting market, now a multi-billion dollar cash cow for those involved.
Legalizing that type of operation in Texas where sports are king seems like an inevitability that lawmakers face since to ignore the issue means letting all that money continue to flow out of state instead of back into taxable revenue that could go towards helping residents.
Texas lawmakers will get to reopen those discussions in a couple of months.
In 2021, the Texas legislature considered a couple of sports betting bills sponsored by State Rep. Dan Huberty (R), but that body never voted on either proposal losing out on an estimated $180 million in potential profits, money that instead went into out of state (or country) pockets.
Now Texas lawmakers have a chance to debate the issue again when they reconvene starting on January 10, 2023, a topic that will not go away because Texans have proved they love to gamble on sports, and they will find a way to do it whether it is locally legal or not.
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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. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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