Big 12 News

Is Texas Moving Towards Legalizing Online Sports Gambling?

Las Vegas Sports Betting Board

Texas online sports betting legalization is once again getting a push from lawmakers, and this time it’s with bipartisan support.

State Senators Dan Huberty and Juan Hinojosa wrote a bipartisan guest column for the Rio Grande Guardian in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Texas residents a chance to vote on legalizing sports betting later this year.

How does a constitutional amendment work?

If approved by the legislature, the citizens of Texas would then vote on the amendment which would bring legalized in-person and online sports betting to the ballot in this November’s election.

According to HB 2070, “any sports governing body may enter into a commercial agreement with a sports wagering operator under which the sports governing body may share in the amount wager or revenues derived from sports wagering on the sports governing body ’s sporting events.”

The bill would allow for Texas professional sports operators to act as sportsbooks in the state. Creating a legal, regulated structure for sports betting has bipartisan support.

 

Big-time revenues

The Senators say that if sports betting is approved it could bring in more than $180 million in new revenue over the next two-year budget cycle and could produce more than $1 billion in new revenue over the next decade. Considering every state is trying to find new revenue streams, this is one of the best ways to do it for bipartisan support.

To put this into perspective on missed revenues, Texans are currently placing nearly $5 billion in illegal sports bets per year with illegal offshore sportsbook. Currently, there are no protections for Texans since all the bets are placed in offshore sportsbooks. They senators believe a legal, regulated sports betting market will help deter unlawful sports betting in and provide strict state oversight over sports betting operators while generating new revenue for state coffers.

The tax revenue from legalizing sports betting could go toward state programs in health care, education, property tax reform or even updating the Texas power grid, which came under assault during the extreme cold earlier this winter.

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