Sports wagering isn’t legal in Texas, but there’s mounting support to change that, including among politicians such as former Gov. Rick Perry.
Perry, a Republican, joined the Sports Betting Alliance — a group comprised of professional sports franchises in Texas and gaming companies that are aiming to bring regulated sports wagering to the second-largest US state.
Texas is built on the core principle of individual freedom and we pride ourselves on being an economic powerhouse in the nation,” said Perry in a video on the Sports Betting Alliance website. “Legalizing mobile sports betting in Texas will finally allow the state to protect consumers from illegal offshore sports betting sites.”
News of Perry joining the Alliance arrives just two days after Texas state Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) pre-filed a resolution to bring a casino and sports betting bill to the floor during the state’s 2023 legislative session.
Familiar Arguments for Legalizing Sports Betting In Texas
In addition to consumer protection, Perry notes that by legalizing sports wagering in Texas, the state will be able to keep more cash within its borders.
There’s some merit to that argument because neighboring Louisiana offers mobile sports wagering and is home to one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the country. The other states that border Texas do not offer mobile sports betting.
The former governor also noted $8.7 billion is wagered by Texans at illegal offshore sites, pointing out that customers have no recourse against those operators if they don’t get their payouts and that those companies have dubious track records of protecting consumer data.
“Most recent estimates show that legalized sports betting in Texas would result in more than 250 million dollars a year in direct tax revenue for the state. This could be used as a growing, dedicated general revenue source to lowering property taxes, funding education, or funding other critical state programs,” according to the Sports Betting Alliance.
Sports Betting Alliance Details
Among gaming companies, the Sports Betting Alliance is supported by Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel. Barstool parent Penn Entertainment operates land-based gaming venues in Louisiana.
All of the marquee sports franchises in Texas also support the Alliance, including the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans as well as the state’s three NBA teams — the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs.
While political attitudes in the state are softening regarding gaming expansion, the issue faces an uphill battle in the state House and Senate because some Texas lawmakers ardently oppose betting of any kind.
On a related note, the Sports Betting Alliance wants the voters to decide the matter, which could lead to a more favorable outcome.
“Texas is known for protecting and upholding individual liberty and letting individuals decide what is right for them,” added the Alliance. “Allowing a referendum on sports betting gives voters a choice and a chance to decide whether they want sports betting in Texas.”
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