Texas Sports Betting Could See Unexpected Push in 2021
The push for legal Texas online sports betting appears to be coming sooner rather than later. As online sports betting legislation continues to sweep across the country, the Lone Star State could be one of the next dominoes to fall. And to be clear, Texas would be a massive domino.
“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.”
It’s impossible to understate the potential of mobile sports betting in Texas. It is the second-largest state by population and it is home to eight professional sports teams in the four major leagues. Not to mention, some of the biggest college sports teams in the country are in Texas.
Texas’ massive population is crazy about sports and it’s safe to assume it would be all-in on sports betting.
Coronavirus Pushes Texas Sports Betting Forward
Sports betting in Texas has always seemed like a tough nut to crack, but the outbreak of COVID-19 could push lawmakers to act fast. Texas, like every other state, is looking for ways to add tax revenue to make up for the economic losses caused by COVID-19. Mobile sports betting is a layup when it comes to easy, accessible tax revenue. States like New Jersey, Illinois, and others are already reaping the benefits.
The upcoming push in Texas could mirror the ongoing efforts in New York. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was a long-time opponent of mobile sports betting legislation in the Empire State, but he recently changed his position. Although Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers are not on the same page in regards to how to set up online sports betting, they are all in agreement that it needs to happen.
If Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants to make this a policy priority, it’s likely that the conservative state legislature will fall in line. Again, while the state looks for every possible way to make up for the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, sports betting represents an option that is impossible to ignore.
Texas Pro Sports Teams Will Be Onboard
Make no mistake about it, Texas is bursting with potential when it comes to sports betting. Population aside, it is home to professional sports teams that will embrace sports betting wholeheartedly. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is an advocate who owns a stake in Unikrn, an esports betting platform. Previously, he has spoken at length about how much of an impact the PASPA Supreme Court decision in 2018 will have on professional sports teams.
“It doubled the value of the professional sports franchises in a second,” Cuban said in the wake of the 2018 Supreme Court decision. “It will increase interest, it will add to what happens in our arena and in stadiums. It will increase the viewership for our biggest customers online and on TV. It helps traditional television because it’s much lower latency, whereas online, because of cachet, it’s much higher latency.”
Cuban is only one of eight major franchise owners in Texas, but it’s highly likely that the other owners share his sentiment. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a stake in DraftKings and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta also owns Golden Nugget.
And if Cuban’s belief that sports betting will double the worth of every professional sports franchise, there’s no reason why the other owners would be against it.
One potential plan for sports betting would give these professional sports teams the power to partner with online bookmakers.
They would also have the freedom to add kiosks in stadiums for bettors to place wagers on-site during games.
Here are the eight major professional franchises in Texas:
- Dallas Cowboys
- Houston Texans
- Dallas Mavericks
- Houston Rockets
- San Antonio Spurs
- Texas Rangers
- Houston Astros
- Dallas Stars
Uncertainty For Texas Sports Betting Legislation
Let’s be clear, this news is monumental for Texas. It is the most promising development for mobile sports betting since the PASPA Supreme Court decision in 2018.
With that said, this is far from a done deal. Although New York is on the opposite end of the spectrum politically, it serves as a road map for other states such as Texas. For years, state lawmakers pushed for mobile sports betting legislation, but they were stonewalled by state leadership. Now that Gov. Cuomo is all-in, the legislation appears to be coming in the next few months.
If Gov. Abbott is onboard early, that will help expedite the legislative process in Texas. But without him, the push for online sports betting could be a slow burn.
Nonetheless, this is a major step forward for sports betting in Texas.