The State of Texas will not have sports betting legalized this year. As LSR reports, the Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, rejected the proposal for an online Texas sports betting bill to be put on ballot after the bill passed the House for the first time in the Lone Star State legislation.
Sports betting Bill Rejected:
The bill proposal was approved by the Representatives and sent to Senate for further consideration but the Senate chairman seemingly had no doubts to put down any chances for bill approval in this year’s session. “No. The bill is dead,” bill proponent Rep. Jeff Leach reportedly said on May 25. Patrick’s decision was made just two business days before the end of the 2023 Texas legislative session. As state legislators meet every second year, the sports betting bill will be put on hold to be waiting for another opportunity in 2025.
Hoping that the bill would pass the House and Senate, proponents of the sports betting legislation has already designated November 7 as the date for public vote and awaited fellow citizens to decide the sports betting measure. According to the source, Patrick announced the fate of the bill in a few public statements on May 13 and 14.
He reportedly stated: “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.”
Most Significant Obstacle:
Patrick has been keeping his anti-gambling attitude for years and the gambling industry perceive the Senate chairman as the most significant obstacle to legalize sports wagering operations in Texas. The industry reportedly hoped that Patrick would change his views on the matter but the Lieutenant Governor doesn’t seem ready to disappoint his conservative voter base.
LSR also reports that Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner, has tried to persuade Patrick into approving sports betting in the state, but an industry source reportedly said that ‘‘the Patrick obstacle was one even Jerry Jones couldn’t overcome.” Jones reportedly supported the bill as the legislation would allow sports books to access the state market through the local professional sports teams.
Awaiting the 2025 Session:
At the end of the day, the sports wagering bill will wait for the 2025 session to hope for the better outcome next time. Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott have been recently re-elected and will have power to decide on the bill again. In the meantime, the industry is left to seek ways to make the legislators change their minds. Funding education or property taxes are reportedly considered an option for the industry to try to gain approval for the 2025 launch, but the state currently stands solid with a $32.7 billion budget surplus.