Just a few weeks ago, it seemed unlikely that Texas would see a sports betting bill anytime soon. Well, the momentum seems to have shifted as two Texas lawmakers decided to filed sports betting-related bills this week.
On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Dan Huberty and Democratic Sen. Juan Hinojosa submitted two sports betting in their respective chambers. It is the latest effort in Texas to legalize sports betting.
The bill is called “H.B. 2070.”
Huberty is no stranger to pushing towards legalization. He was in the news for drafting the initial bill as Dallas’ pro sports teams pushed for sports betting in the Lone Star State.
The two proposals that were filed on Tuesday serve different purposes. The first bill would see a vote on whether or not the constitution should be amended to legalize sports betting in Texas. The second bill focuses on the rules and regulations should sportsbooks be legalized.
Professionals ports teams would also be able to partner with sportsbooks and incorporate them into gamely experiences.
If the initial bill is passed, it will have to be voted on by the House and the Senate. In each case, two-thirds of voters need to approve of it for it to take effect. That means it would have to be 100 out of 150 House representatives and 21 out of 31 Senate members.
Texas has big Sports Betting Potential
According to the United States Census Bureau, Texas has a population of at least 29 million as of 2019. With a large portion of that number being potential bettors, sports betting could be a lucrative industry in the state.
Lawmakers are projecting that if sports betting is approved, Texas could see an additional $1.8 billion per year over a 10-year period all because of sports betting.
Right now, a lot of Texans are heading to neighboring states to bet on sports. The longer this continues, the more money Texas is losing out on.
“Sports betting is happening illegally in Texas right now and it is important for the state to take control,” Huberty said on his official Facebook account on Tuesday. “By implementing efficient state oversight of sports betting, we will allow Texans to safely engage with the sports they love while creating a new revenue stream to support education and other important state programs.”
Opponents to Texan Sports Betting
While some people in Texas are trying to inch towards introducing sportsbooks, not everyone is for the movement. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has openly opposed the arrival of sports betting in his state. Just over two weeks ago, he said that he didn’t want to spend time on its potential legalization because “the members are just against it.”
Patrick even went as far as saying that the issue probably wouldn’t be taken up.
“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session,” said Patrick in a radio interview. “There may be a bill filed, but I doubt it.”
Judging by what happened on Tuesday, it’s clear that Patrick was wrong to doubt a bill being filed. Whether that bill gets approved or not is a different story.