Posted on: March 23, 2023, 03:16h.
Last updated on: March 23, 2023, 03:16h.
Texas lawmakers are currently considering an assortment of gaming-related legislation, but some experts caution that sports wagering remains a longshot this year in the Lone Star state.
This week, the Texas House of Representatives State Affairs Committee is considering three gaming bills — two that combine casino licensing and sports betting and a standalone sports wagering package. It’s possible that as the legislative session moves along the casino bills will be reconfigured to exclude sports betting if that issue appears to be a non-starter in terms of passage.
The online sports betting bill proposes that Texas professional sports teams and racetracks will be able to apply for an online sports betting license, and if awarded one, can partner with up to one online sports betting operator. The online sports betting tax rate will be set at 10% of adjusted gross sports betting revenue, and each license will cost $500,000,” noted Jeffrey Kamys of Inherent Wealth Fund.
Currently, Texas is somewhat restrictive in terms of wagering options, allowing only bingo facilities, a state-run lottery and greyhound and horse racing.
There’s some momentum for mobile sports betting in Texas, namely from the state’s professional sports team, the PGA Tour and the Sports Betting Alliance, of which former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is a spokesman. It’s also widely believed that if policymakers can successfully amend the state’s constitution to allow for sport betting, voters there will overwhelmingly sign off on the activity if it makes to the November 2023 ballot.
On the other hand, there’s plenty of opposition, including anti-betting groups, Oklahoma tribal casino operators and commercial gaming entities that argue Texas would be better suited allowing land-based gaming venues first while leaving sports betting for another time.
“A new-ish wrinkle: The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, which operates Class II casino gaming in the state, wants a seat at the table and wouldn’t have one under a pending online sports betting (OSB)-only bill that would make sports facilities OSB market access points,” according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG).
Louisiana casino operators aren’t mentioned among the entities opposing sports betting in Texas and the reason for that is likely simple. Many of those companies would probably have their hands in the Texas sports betting pie, assuming the market comes to life.
There are multiple factors standing in the way of sports wagering being approved in Texas this year, including the long-running opposition of Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Patrick, who serves as president of the state Senate, recently reiterated his anti-sports wagering stance in a local media interview.
Then there’s the matter of money. Some states, Illinois and New York being prime examples, embraced OSB to plug budget shortfalls. Texas isn’t in that position as the state sports a tidy surplus. Additionally, there’s the matter of time. The Texas legislature is in session through May 29, meaning there’s a time crunch. Add it all up and sports bettors in the state may be left waiting for another two years.
“That makes 2025 the more likely target for TX OSB legalization—another reminder the industry faces an uphill battle in getting the remaining big states over the line,” concluded EKG.
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