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The Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Dallas Mavericks are all reportedly backing legislation that will allow Texans voting opportunity to lift the Lone Star State’s ban on gambling. The Sports Betting Alliance, a coalition of franchises and betting platforms is centralizing behind the push for legalization.
The Dallas Morning News reported that more Texas pro teams are expected to join the campaign to back the bill, which will soon be introduced by State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston).
Thus far it seems that the bill will allow for only mobile/online sports wagering following a trend started in Tennessee and is now being backed in Georgia. The committee of Texas teams plus other companies involved support a proposal that would allow the decision to legalize to be done by Texas voters. This news also according to the Morning News report.
Charlotte Jones, the Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President, and Chief Brand Officer provided a similar opinion that other state legislators have unanimously agreed upon as motivating their reason to bring legalized gambling to Texas:
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.
Since gambling is currently banned in Texas, sports betting would require two legislative moves: one to amend the state constitution and another that would detail the licensing and regulation of in-state gambling.
The first draft of the bill stipulates that bettors would receive a maximum of 90 percent of their winnings. State Rep. Huberty, author of the bill told the Dallas Morning News that the 10 percent hold to be collected would go toward a special education fund in Texas.
The proposal would allow for wagering on all college and professional sports. Digital platforms would pay a $500,000 application fee each while a retail operating license would cost $50,000. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation would serve as the regulator for all sports wagering.
The Sports Betting Alliance also told the newspaper that it does not have an official stance on legalizing casinos. The newspaper noted, however, that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has previously expressed support for legalizing both sports betting and casinos in Texas.
When asked about the issue Cuban commented to the Morning News:
I think it’s time. It makes no sense for us to force Texans to go to neighboring states to gamble in casinos.
Over the past three months, it seems talks to legislate sports wagering have heated up tremendously in several US states that were largely dormant a year ago. Texas among the largest states appearing on the list.
No doubt COVID-19 causing large fiscal budget gaps to help these ailing states is the primary reason. Texas’ case may have been further magnified by the recent death of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who spent $10 million in lobbying efforts to push legalized gambling through in the state.
It has been reported that new executive leadership from his Las Vegas Sands Corporation is aggressively moving to compete in the US sports wagering sector. Ironically, that includes “online wagering”, where Adelson was the main force spending millions trying to detour the US Supreme Court from reversing their decision to legalize sports wagering.
With the power of this new Sports Betting Alliance gaining strength, likely being joined by other noted Texas professional teams and other state legislators, look for new headlines and potential progress on this issue in the coming months.
Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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