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Texas Sports Betting Bill Gets Through House

A sports betting bill in the state of Texas has made its way to the Senate after the House of Representatives passed the measure on Thursday. Representative Jeff Leach was the man that made the biggest push and he was able to get enough votes in favor of HJR 102.

This bill will now head to the Senate, and that is where it should run into some intense opposition. This bill wouldn’t immediately legalize sports betting, but would instead give voters that opportunity in November.

If sports betting were to be legalized through a vote, there would be a number of different groups that could apply for a sports betting license. Professional sports teams would be included in that group, and racetracks would also be given that option.

There would still be some details that would need to be ironed out, but the current language has sports betting revenue being taxed at a rate of 15%. Initially, that tax rate was set at just 10%, but the added revenue was enough to get some additional votes of support.

Texas is not a state with any casinos, and legalized gambling has always been something that lawmakers have stayed away from. There has been some talk about legalizing and allowing casinos, but that seems farther away than sports betting.

Previous sports betting bills have been shut down in the Senate, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has already expressed his opposition. Party politics is going to impact the bills chances as there seems to be little support from the Republican Party.

Teams, Operators Campaigning Hard

Texas would become the most populous state with legal sports betting if the bill was passed, and the voters approved the constitutional amendment. California and Florida have both had attempts to bring this industry on as well, but those have been shut down in a hurry.

The Sports Betting Alliance is a group that is pushing hard for legal sports betting in the Lone Star State. That group is made up of some of the biggest operators that include, BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

Some of the owners of the biggest professional franchises in Texas have also spoken out about getting sports betting legalized. Both Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys would love to see this brought to the state.

Bill Aims to Save Residents Money

Lawmakers are hoping to use a very simple strategy to get support of the voters, and that’s to offer them a chance at saving some money. Lawmakers have suggested using the funds from gambling industries to save residents close to $1 billion in property taxes.

There were still some very outspoken critics of sports betting in the House, and the risks of problem gambling were brought up. Other lawmakers argued that professional sports teams did not help the state during the pandemic, and that they shouldn’t be rewarded with new sources of income.

This decision could ultimately be left up to the voters, but there are still some big hurdles to climb.

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