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Could Sports Betting Become a Reality in Texas?

Could Sports Betting Become a Reality in Texas
Mike Noblin
Written by Mike Noblin
February 8, 2023

21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) filed HJR 97 on February 3, which proposed a constitutional amendment that, if approved by Texas voters, would legalize sports betting and authorize the construction of seven commercial casinos in metropolitan regions across the state.

Filing his legislation on Friday, Rep. Geren joins forces with Sen. Carol Alvarado of Houston, who proposed a similar Senate resolution a few months prior. This resolution would allow citizens to enjoy legal gambling in the Lone Star State, where it has previously been prohibited.

If passed, it would be the first time since 1987 that Texans could legally gamble at casinos within their state. This resolution has been met with excitement and criticism from citizens across Texas.

Texans Divided Over Proposed Legalization of Casinos

Supporters argue that it will create jobs and provide much-needed revenue to local economies. The potential economic benefits of legalizing casinos are huge; they could bring thousands of jobs to the state and millions of dollars in tax revenue which could be used to fund public services like education or healthcare.

Additionally, it would provide an opportunity for businesses related to tourism, such as hotels or restaurants, to thrive due to an influx of visitors coming from out-of-state looking to experience all that Texas has to offer!

However, there are some concerns about the potential negative impacts that legalizing casinos could have on society, such as increased crime rates or addiction problems among citizens. It's important that any legislation passed considers these issues so that Texans can feel safe knowing their communities will remain safe and healthy if casinos become legalized within their state's borders.

Local Officials in the Dallas Area Have Reacted

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he hasn’t yet consulted with state legislators but is open to expanding gambling opportunities as long—as it is in the best interests of the people of Dallas: "The City of Dallas, one of the main economic drivers of our growing state, should be at the table if the Legislature is serious about advancing this proposal."

Craig Davis, CEO of Visit Dallas, noted that voters have a choice for their future, saying, "We saw that here in Dallas last year as voters chose what was next for Dallas, approving a new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and an investment in the future of Fair Park. That collective decision will bring thousands of jobs, millions of visitors, and billions in revenue to our City."

Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen mentioned he had not read Geren's resolution but expressed his doubt that anything would happen this session due to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's past stances against gambling.

The billionaire sports team owners in Texas have also been vocal about their support for House Joint Resolution 97, which proposes a constitutional amendment to legalize sports wagering in the state.

The resolution has been met with enthusiasm from many of the state's professional sports teams, who see it as an opportunity to increase revenue and expand their fan base. Owners of the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Rockets, and Texas Rangers have all expressed their support for the resolution, citing its potential to create jobs and boost the local economy.

What Gambling Options Are Currently Available?

Currently, legal forms of gambling in the U.S. state of Texas include the Texas Lottery; parimutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing; charitable bingo, raffles, pull-tabs, and Calcutta pools; and betting on daily fantasy sports.

However, three federally-recognized tribes in Texas operate casinos and other forms of gambling on their land. These include Naskila Casino in Livingston, Casino Network in Fort Worth, and Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass.

At this point, it's still being determined what will happen with House Joint Resolution 97 or Rep. Geren's proposed amendment. Still, there is a growing movement towards legalizing casinos and sports betting within Texas, which could bring many positive economic benefits if done responsibly and safely. Only time will tell what happens, but it's worth keeping an eye on!

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21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

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