Texas Sports Betting Coming Soon? Lawmakers File Online Sports Betting Bills
Texas lawmakers introduced online sports betting bills this week that already have backing from Texas’ professional sports teams via the Sports Betting Alliance.
Details Of Texas Sports Betting Bills
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst and Rep. Jeff Leach are the sponsors of the various bills.
Kolkhorst is the author of two new bills: SJR 39 and SB 715. Leach filed companion bills to these two: HJR 102 and HB 1942.
SJR 39 and HJR 102 are very short bills. They simply propose “a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to legalize wagering in this state on certain sporting events.”
SB 715 and HB 1942 relate to the regulation of sports wagering, outlining details such as licenses, fees, taxes, standards of gaming, penalties, and any other Texas-specific rules.
Under these bills, “sports entities” in the state would be granted one online license. A three-year license would cost $500,000 and could be renewed for $100,000. Operators would be taxed at a 10% rate and would be able to deduct promotions from their taxable income. The Texas Lottery Commission would regulate the market and college sports betting would also be allowed.
If passed by the two-thirds of the legislature and the governor, this bill could go before Texas voters in November 2023.
“I introduced SB 715 and SJR 39 because Texas needs to bring security and safety into the world of mobile sports betting,” Kolkhorst said in a press release. “It makes sense to rein in all of the illegal offshore betting and keep sports wagering funds here in Texas.”
Good team win. @TIAA | #MFFL pic.twitter.com/VUrR1xI6GM
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 7, 2023
Texas Team Owners Endorse Legislation
These bills were very quickly backed by the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, which is a group supporting sports betting legislation in Texas, and it is made up of the state’s several professional sports teams and their owners. Former Gov. Rick Perry has also joined the group.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: “A legal and regulated sports betting market is what’s best for Texas and I applaud Senator Kolkhorst and Representative Leach for filing this legislation. It will give Texans the ability to decide for themselves if they want this activity safely regulated or continue to be conducted in the shadows of out-of-state betting platforms.”
World Series-winning Houston Astros owner Jim Crane concurred. “Sports betting is going to happen whether it is regulated or not. Rather than having Texans betting illegally through unknown companies in foreign countries, this bill will allow controls and safeguards for sports betting in Texas while generating significant revenue that will be used to reduce everyone’s property taxes in Texas.”
Houston Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta also commented: “Sports betting is a very popular form of entertainment. Sports fans enjoy placing bets on their favorite sports because it brings them closer to the team and puts them in the game. No one wins with an illegal market as robust as the one in Texas and I applaud Senator Kolkhorst and Representative Leach for recognizing the need to address the illegal market in Texas.”
Captain’s orders. @Lexus | #Jamie1K pic.twitter.com/z5ywPv9eVe
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 7, 2023
Texas Sports Betting History
Despite various attempts over the years, sports betting has yet to find its way into Texas. Sen. Carol Alvarado pre-filed a sports betting bill – SJR 17 – in 2022 that is also set to be discussed in the 2023 legislative session. The legislation calls for a casino resort in the state’s four major cities: Houston, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and San Antonio. It also allows limited casino gambling at horse and race tracks, legalized sports betting, and tribal communities to operate slot machines or casino gambling.
A recent study by the University of Houston found that 75% of people they interviewed would support SJR 17 in some way or another.