There has been a lot of back and forth on whether or not the Lone Star State has a legitimate chance of legalizing sports betting. 2021 might be the year it comes to fruition. First, Texas is looking to expand casino gaming, allowing sports betting to become legal in the state.
Texas has the second-largest U.S. population behind California, so the Lone Star State could have a booming sports betting industry depending on the regulations it would put in. If passed this year, it would most likely become the largest sports betting industry in the U.S.
The key for Texas is to get a deal done in 2021. The state lawmakers only see each other in odds numbered years, meaning if a bill is not passed this year, then the state would have to wait until 2023 at the earliest.
But First, Casino Gaming
Texas has historically been a conservative, and lawmakers have felt gambling is more taboo than other states. The first step would be for lawmakers to get on board the gaming legalization, especially when Texas began to change demographically and politically.
The Lone Star State has no commercial casinos, so a bill to expand casino gaming will need to come first. Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is a conservative and is looking to expand its business into Texas. This should help lawmakers begin to work towards opening commercial casinos and then create a domino effect on sports betting.
With how much influence Adelson has in the gaming industry, this feels like a great chance for Texas to at least move on casino expansion. It would put gaming in the Texas Lottery Commission, and collect 18% tax on gross gaming revenue, according to the House Joint Resolution 26 bill filed in November.
Discussions about expanding commercial casinos in Texas begins later this month.
Odds Sports Betting is Passed
If Texas can quickly move on a casino expansion bill, then there a strong chance sports betting could be right behind it in 2021. However, this is still easier said than done in the historically conservative state. The backing of Adelson is a huge boost to the state.
Franchise owners like Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, Mavericks’ Mark Cuban, and Rockets’ owner Tilman Fertitta are all in favor of expanding the state’s gaming industry. Gaming and sports betting expansion would help the franchises out and help the state fix its multi-billion budget deficit due to the coronavirus.
Texas could be competing with New York for the largest sports betting market in the U.S. until California comes along and passes betting. However, Texas and New York have its own hurdles it needs to get through before this happens.
None of this happens without casino gaming expansion at the end of the day. Texas lawmakers will need to come together to pass a casino bill. Adelson will be a huge lobbyist for the bill to pass as the Las Vegas mogul will benefit from building commercial casinos in the Lone Star State.
Until then, Texas will be in wait and see mode to see if the state can get it done.