Texas Inching Towards Legal Gaming in the Wake of COVID-19 Economic Crisis

It’s no secret that there is a huge demand for gambling and sports betting in the United States, and lawmakers are finally starting to craft bills to capitalize on the interest and potential tax revenue. In fact, 19 states currently offer some form of legalized gambling, and a total of six other states are working on making it available to the public. That means nearly one half of states could soon have legalized gambling.

Legislation in Texas in Inevitable

As for Texas, they are one of eight States that currently have bills in legislation or are working on one to introduce soon. In Texas’ case, they have two that are up for consideration, and while one is to ensure more brick and mortar casinos in the coastal area, the other would basically legalize online gambling in the same way that Tennessee did back in 2020.

“Something is going to happen in Texas,” claimed Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist with the Princeton Public Affairs Group when asked about legalizing gambling. “It’s complicated because there’s no gaming culture and nothing definitive yet, but the Governor is interested, and the legislature is interested.”

If nothing else, that means up to 30 states could have legalized gambling by 2024, and that will be a huge benefit to places suffering financially. 1 example of this is the Texas bill, which if successful would charge a 6.5 percent tax on all revenue made through online gambling. This would create a pivotal revenue stream for Texas’s reopening economy, and maybe even help them thrive again.

Unfortunately for proponents of Texas joining states that have legalized some form of gambling, the bills future remains very uncertain at this point. Yes, some are hopeful after Andrew Cuomo admitted he was on board with online gambling in New York, but there is still a myriad of challenges it will face before finally becoming legalized. Those problems might not be enough to stop it though.

Keep in mind that Texas, like much of the United States, is dealing with an ongoing economic crisis, that shows no sign of improving. This has left a lot of business in limbo and depending on government assistance. Unfortunately for Texas, they are also losing huge chunks of money by not legalizing sports betting in their state. One analysis even claims the Lone Star state is missing out on $2.5 billion a year in betting revenue that Texans spend elsewhere.

Legal Gaming has Done Wonders for Other States

And just look at what legalizing gambling has done for other states over the past couple of years. One perfect example is New Jersey, who legalized sports betting at racetracks and online in 2018. Once legalized, the state made $5.8 million in revenue in their first year, and even reported $4 billion again in 2020. That’s a lot of money that will go to help a lot of different people.

Another big example of the benefits is Tennessee, who just legalized sports betting last year. The volunteer state would go on to see $131 million in gross revenue in the month of November and a plethora of jobs injected into the market. A portion of the money even went towards education and infrastructure, making it a wining scenario for the entire community.

In all honesty, the state of Texas is facing a growing deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and needs to start looking at ways to get it back. Now, there are a bunch of different ways to do that, but the most effective would probably be to allow commercial gambling in the state. There’s just so much money to be made from it, and so many people interested in taking part that it’s at least worth a shot.

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Brian Thornsburg
Brian worked his way through college writing for a variety of publications. Once his education was over, he yearned for a new challenge and started reporting on gambling news. This lead to the coverage of sports betting, horse racing and various other gaming related topics.