Online sports betting legislation might be on the table in Texas this year and professional sports teams could be the gatekeepers to the sector.
According to multiple sources, LSR understands the Texas Governor’s Office has reached out to lobbyists and regulators in states like New Jersey for advice on the best way to legalize sports betting.
“Something is going to happen in Texas,” said Bill Pascrell III, a lobbyist with the Princeton Public Affairs Group. “It’s complicated because there’s no gaming culture and nothing definitive yet. But the governor is interested and the legislature is interested.”
Sources indicate the TX sports betting effort is backed by influential team owners including Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, and Tilman Fertitta of the Houston Rockets.
How would Texas sports betting plan work?
One plan being floated would see 14 to 20 licenses available for the state’s professional sports teams and handful of horse racing tracks in Texas. In essence, the teams would be the equivalent of casinos in a gaming state like New Jersey, in that they can sell access to bookmaking partners.
A draft bill is currently being written and will need a sponsor before making it to the legislative floor.
That could happen over the next week as the Texas legislative session begins.
Long road ahead for TX sports betting
Texas historically profiles as one of the more unlikely states to legalize sports betting, given its conservative roots. Any changes to the state’s gambling laws