Is Legal Sports Betting in Texas Around the Corner?

Back in May of 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional, opening the doors for individual states to set their own laws regarding sports gambling. Since that time, we’ve seen a number of states introduce legislation to regulate this popular form of gambling. This week, news has surfaced that legal sports betting in Texas may be on the horizon.

It’s a big development for the Lone Star State, where gambling laws have been heavily restrictive. A bill to regulate sports betting has been introduced here. How long until Texans can place bets on their favorite teams?

History of Gambling in Texas

For most of the state’s history, Texas has heavily restricted nearly all forms of gambling. Officials here claimed their tight gambling laws were due to concerns over the social effects it would have on everyday citizens. Texans only have a few legal options to make wagers including the lottery, horse racing, and greyhound racing.

There are two casinos inside Texas, yet these are owned by Native American tribes in the state and don’t generate revenue from taxes. Poker houses have been popping up here in recent years. These lie somewhere in a legal grey area, and the state has been working to decide whether or not they are able to operate.

Texas Representative Carol Alvarado has been working to expand gambling laws in the state since 2011. Not much progress was made on her front, and Governor Greg Abbott told the media he “wholeheartedly” supports the state’s different bans on gambling.

Pathway for Legal Sports Betting in Texas

As we mentioned earlier, the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow PASPA completely opened the doors for Texas to set their own laws on sports betting. This week, Representative Eddie Lucio III introduced a new bill (HB 1275) that details how the state will collect taxes, implement regulations, and define criminal offenses related to gambling operations.

One of the more unique aspects of Bill HB 1275 is that it would allow for wagers on college sporting events. Collegiate betting has been a major opposition point for lawmakers against sports betting over the years.

The college betting section of the bill could be one of the biggest factors for legal sports betting in Texas to be stalled. Primary concerns are that it can affect the integrity of games.

Will this new legislation also open the doors for online sports betting in Texas?

Future of Sports Betting in Texas

Bill HB 1275 will now need support from state legislators. As the bill states, companies interested in opening a sports betting business here can submit an application describing their experience in the market. The fee for an application is $250,000.

If lawmakers decide to pass the bill for legal sports betting in Texas, there will be a statewide vote. If voters decide to allow these new plans the industry could begin operating by January of 2020.

The bill introduced by Eddie Lucio III opens the possibility for online sports betting here, as well. There are already some fantastic online sports betting sites in the US that Texans have access to; however, the new legislation would allow the state to earn revenue in the form of taxes and fees from the licensed sites operating here.

It’s an extremely exciting time for a state that’s been very hesitant to open their gambling industry. Even if bill HB 1275 doesn’t gain support from lawmakers here, there has been a new and legitimate attempt to change gambling laws in Texas. Time will tell whether or not Texas decides to start generating revenue from the gambling market that clearly exists here.

Do you think legal sports betting in Texas will come this year? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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Kevin Oldroyd

A longtime sports and gambling enthusiast, Kevin looks to present up-to-date and reliable information for readers. If he’s not writing, he’s probably watching MMA or playing blackjack.

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