Rick Perry Joins Texas Sports Betting Legalization Efforts

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the sports betting conversation this month, surprisingly, in favor of it, marking the first big political name with Republican ties to express downright support for the movement in Texas. 

On Nov. 18, Perry released a video on behalf of the Sports Betting Alliance in which he touches on his support for sports betting and its potential benefits. 

“Texas is built on the core principle of individual freedom,” said Perry. “And we pride ourselves on being an economic powerhouse in the nation. Legalizing mobile sports betting in Texas will finally allow the state to protect consumers from illegal offshore betting sites while keeping the money generated from betting in Texas to benefit Texans.”

About The Texas Sports Betting Alliance

The Sports Betting Alliance was in large part formed by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in 2021, as part of his push for sports betting legalization in Texas. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is also a member. 

“All 11 major professional sports franchises in Texas are in support of legalizing mobile sports betting,” Perry noted. Other alliance partners of note are DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel

Beyond the Cowboys and the Mavericks, supporters of the alliance include: the Texas Rangers, FC Dallas, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, Dallas Wings, and several more. Not to be left out is Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, a notorious name in the sports betting world, and a Houston native. At the SBC North American Summit in July, Mack said, “we need to have legal bookmakers that supply jobs for Texans and Americans,” which coincides with the Sports Betting Alliance’s goals. 

Per their website, the alliance’s main reasons for pushing sports betting in the state are: to promote individual freedom, protect Texas from an industry operating in the shadows (offshore betting sites), and support state programs and initiatives. 

Status of Sports Betting In Texas

“Texas continues to fall behind as 35 other states have already legalized,” Perry said. “Neighboring states are cashing in on Texans’ bets.”

While Perry and other (mainly Democratic) political leaders are supporters of the movement, this is certainly not a unanimous opinion. 

The 2021 legislative session saw two bills to legalize sports gambling in Texas, but the bills were as good as gone once the Senate president, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is staunchly opposed to sports betting, said the bills would not “see the light of day” during the session. 

Meanwhile, current Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, who once also adamantly opposed sports betting in Texas, said last month that he is willing to listen to proposals. 

“We don’t want slot machines at every corner store, we don’t want Texans to be losing money that they need for everyday expenses,” Abbott’s press secretary Renee Eze told the media. “But, if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Gov. Abbott would take a look at it,” 

Then, earlier this month, Democratic state Sen. Carolyn Alvarado filed SJR 17, a bill that would create the Texas Gaming Commission to authorize casino and sports gambling in the state. So, hope is not lost for a legalization effort in 2023, but moving Abbott from indifference to support, will be the real task.

Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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