Texas sports books could be a reality by 2023

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Anyone who wants to see an example of the domino effect in action needs look no further than the way sports betting has spread across the USA over the past four years. It was in January 2018 that the US Supreme Court made its landmark decision to strike down PASPA. This essentially had the effect of placing the decision on how to legislate around sports betting in the hands of individual states.

Some, like New Jersey and Philadelphia hurried through legislation so that they could get their sports books up and running without delay. Others sat on their hands for a while and debated the question, all the while watching how much revenue their neighbors were generating from their burgeoning sports betting industries.

Falling dominoes

Back in 2018, industry experts predicted that by 2023, 32 states would have legal sports betting frameworks in place. Here we are in mid 2022 with the total standing at 30, so their predictions look accurate. The Lone Star State was originally seen as an outside shot to legalize sports betting, at least in this timeframe. Texans are sports lovers, true enough, but the state is generally conservative and legal wheels do not turn swiftly.

However, when you look at Texas’s neighbors, you can see the potential for falling dominoes. New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham has signaled that she is keen to implement reforms. Louisiana legalized sports betting earlier this year. Gambling is also legal in Arkansas. The truth is, Texas is increasingly out on a limb where sports betting is concerned. In the current economic conditions, the tax dollars are also hard to ignore.

Betting in Texas

Let's be clear on one thing, online gambling in Texas is alive and well right now. There are no laws that prohibit gamblers in Texas from visiting offshore casinos and sports books. But as things stand, the state receives no tax revenue from the activity and the provider potentially exposes itself to legal action, as does the gambler's bank if it has facilitated gambling. In other words, online gambling is already available for Texans it is just weighed down by laws that benefit nobody.

Change is in the air

Advocates for gambling reform in Texas know they have a challenge on their hands. Yet there is definitely a feeling of change in the air, and they have some powerful allies. Jerry Jones has aligned the Cowboys with the Mavericks and the Rangers, while the Las Vegas Sands empire has launched a $2 million PAC to support the campaign.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who heads up the State Senate has long been a vocal opponent of sports betting, but his voice is not as well supported as it was two or three years ago. Beto O’Rourke, the democratic governor candidate has nailed his colors to the mast and confirmed he would support legalization. Meanwhile even Greg Abbot, the incumbent, was reported to be in favor when the subject was debated in 2021.

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