The final day of the 2023 Texas Legislative Session is May 29th. With only eleven days remaining until sine die, the Texas House of Representatives is urgently trying to get domestic sports betting across the finish line.
House Bill 1942 would allow for legal online sports betting in Texas if signed into law. Texas Representative Jeff Leach is the bill sponsor, and right now, his sole focus is getting it passed in the House and into the hands of the Senate for consideration.
“The Bill is in a good spot. We’re building support every single day from legislators here and from Texans across the state. I think we’re going to be able to get it across the finish line in the House.”
Texas State Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano)
Signs are good that HB 1942 will pass favorably in the House, but there is division on the issue within the Senate. Could the passage of SB 8 to the House Public Education Committee be a signal that the Senate is ready to play ball and consider sports betting?
Senate Bill 8 involves more lenient regulations placed on the Texas school voucher system. A friendlier stance on school vouchers in the House could be the recipe for the success of sports betting legislation in the Senate.
There are also talks of the House taking up measures for additional property tax cuts, an issue that Senate Republicans will need some movement on before sports betting will be taken seriously.
Outlook had previously been grim following Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s vow to strike down any sports betting bills in the Senate. At this late date, there’s not much time for floor debates. Deals are being made behind closed doors with issues trailered onto existing bills.
These developments come as welcome relief to supporters of sports betting in Texas. These heavyweights include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, San Antonio Spurs, Texas Rangers, and several more Texas-based pro sports teams.
This “Texas Sports Betting Alliance” also includes domestic sportsbooks like DraftKings, BetMGM, Barstool, and FanDuel – the books that would likely be first in line to apply for mobile and online sports betting applications in the Lone Star State.
While locals await their legislators’ decisions on domestic sportsbooks, sports betting in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and all other areas across the remainder of TX can be done through offshore gambling sites.
This legal loophole exists because Texas and US gambling laws cannot govern international sportsbook sites. This means that 18 and older Texans can bet on the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and more from PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets right now.
These offshore sportsbooks will continue to dominate the sports betting landscape of Texas until local lawmakers take action.