Texas Lawmakers Thinking About Legalizing Sports Gambling

There are numerous hurdles before Texas can see sportsbooks opening.

In Austin, Texas, a couple hundred high powered lobbyists are spending as much money as possible to convince Texas lawmakers that now is the time to get the ball rolling and approve legalized sports betting in the state. And there could be a willing person or two to run with the ball.  Texas House of Representatives Speaker Dade Phelan is open to establishing resort-style casinos in the state and thinks voters would approve the expansion of gaming. But there is a long way to go before voters get a chance to decide whether it is in Texas’s best interest to open sportsbooks. Any Texas gambling expansion requires approval by two-thirds of lawmakers in the House and Senate. If passed, then it would go to Texas voters. Phelan said, “I want to see destination-style casinos that are high quality and that create jobs and that improve the lifestyle of those communities.” Opening a casino does not necessarily improve the lifestyle of any community if you ask gambling addiction experts. But politicians see money as some areas around the country have done well with sports gambling. Texas sports team owners could also do rather well with legalized sports gambling.

The Texas Sports Betting Alliance hired former Texas Governor and former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to lobby lawmakers. Perry once was against legalized sports betting. The Texas legislature took up a sports betting proposal in 2021 but it went nowhere. Online sports betting and casino sports books are illegal in Texas, however there are three casinos operating in Native American territory in the state. So, there is some legalized sports gambling available in Texas. Once upon a time, sports leagues fought vigorously in courtrooms to stop legalized sports gambling in places like Delaware and New Jersey. Now it’s fine, owners can make money off of sports gambling.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a touchdown pass as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) defends in the second half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)