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Texas to Miss Out on Sports Betting as Senate Rejects Bill

Jessica Aletor
Written by Jessica Aletor
June 2, 2023
Texas to Miss Out on Sports Betting as Senate Rejects Bill

Sports betting will not be available in Texas—at least until 2025—after Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick rejected a bid for an online sports betting bill to be voted on. The bill, HJR 102, was proposed on the floor of the House back in February this year, drawing support from major in-state sports teams.

This sports betting bill was the first time a measure of such nature advanced from the House, receiving bipartisan support from Texas lawmakers. Proponents of online sports betting had hoped that the bill would be passed by the Senate in time to set up a public vote for November 7.

Unfortunately, through a series of tweets published from the official account of the Texas senate leader, it was revealed that the upper chamber won’t be deliberating on the bill. While this may be a rude shock to sports betting hopefuls in the Lone Star State, the antecedents of Lt. Gov. Patrick already suggested a sports betting bill was a dead end.

Sports Betting Measure Sponsor Tags Bill as Dead

Patrick had been a strong anti-gambling activist for years and many proponents had seen him as the biggest obstacle to the progression of the measure. On Twitter, Patrick wrote:

“Texas is a red state. Yet the House vote on sports betting was carried by a Dem majority. The Texas Senate doesn’t pass bills without GOP in the minority. The GOP majority guides our path. HJR102 also will not be referred. Can’t waste committee/floor time in the last days. #txlege”

This statement, which came two business days before the close of the legislative session, was a clear indication that the Texas Senate would not vote on the bill.

When asked to give comments about the proposed measure, Rep. Jeff Leach, the sponsor of HJR 102 was reported to have said, “No. The bill is dead.” There is no further hope that the Lieutenant Governor will change his mind at the risk of betraying conservatives in the state.

Attempt by Dallas Cowboys Owner to Sway Patrick Reported to Have Failed

Influential actors had also stepped in to salvage the situation in Texas, all to no avail. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was reported to have met with Patrick hoping to change his mind. However, as a news source put it, “At the end of the day, the Patrick obstacle was one even Jerry Jones couldn’t overcome.”

The Texas legislative session ended on Monday, May 29, signaling an end to the bill. Unfortunately, the Texas legislature only meets biennially, meaning that no further activity will take place until 2025.

In fact, there are no hopes that the next two years would provide a softer landing for the sports betting measure in Texas. Lt. Gov. Patrick and conservative governor, Greg Abbott have been re-elected, and this means they will be able to decide on the bill come 2025.

Rep. Jeff Leach’s sports betting bill intended to legalize sportsbooks and provide an operating channel through existing sports teams in Texas. It is hoped that the sponsors of the bill will find innovative ways to convince lawmakers that sports betting is a good deal for the state.

Could a New Bill Be Accepted in Texas in 2025?

There are speculations that the new bill may include provisions for funding education and leveraging betting revenue to reduce property taxes. The available budget surplus in the state could also determine the course of a new bill. As it stands, Texas’ budget surplus stands at $32.7 billion.

Some good news is that former governor, Rick Perry, is staunchly in support of legalizing sports betting in Texas and he recently advocated for a public vote on the issue. Perry and the Sports Betting Alliance will be looking to mount pressure on legislators to allow the bill’s passage in 2025.

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