Is Texas going to legally legalized sports betting? This may be one of the biggest questions that remains unanswered as the state prepares for its upcoming season. Proponents of legalized sports betting feel that it will benefit Texas, which has traditionally been a place that does not offer a great deal of excitement when it comes to professional sports. Legalizing sports betting has been in the works for some time, but not with a lot of fanfare. Efforts to legalize sports betting in Texas have centered around two main issues.
First, is there a need to legalize sports betting in Texas? Proponents of legalized sports betting in Texas claim that there are many negative public impressions of the way that the Texas sportsbooks treat their customers. In the aftermath of the death of Michael Schaus, who was killed by a Dallas sportsbook while playing a football game, the public perception of the sportsbooks changed from being positive to being negative. Several people lost money at various Dallas-area sportsbooks. Many more were reportedly injured or even killed while placing bets on games at the local Texas sportsbooks.
The second issue that would be up for debate if Texas were to legalized sports betting in its current form is whether or not it would authorize state oversight of the gambling industry. Currently, only fourteen states currently regulate sports betting operations, including New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. If Texas were to become the fifteenth state to regulate sports betting, it would be significant because the Texas State Athletic Association would be responsible for overseeing athletic games and events in the state. regulate sports betting operations would be an important step towards creating more orderly business conditions and protecting the interests of the state’s amateur sports fanciers.
Proponents of the upcoming adoption of new Mexico sports betting legislation assert that the new law would protect the rights of both the games’ promoters and the players and prevent cheating. They also claim that new Mexico gambling laws would encourage tourists to visit the state, thereby helping to support the gaming sector in Texas. In response, opponents of the measure fear that the move will open the door for further abuse by the state’s gaming commission, which is already notorious for suppressing legitimate transactions and arbitrarily singling out businesses that it deems guilty of gaming law violations.
Opponents argue that the House majority is taking extreme measures to “create” the Texas economy and stifle economic growth. Proponents point out that there has been no evidence that expanding gaming opportunities in Texas have led to job creation, despite claims by proponents that the Texas job market is doing better than the national average. According to a recent study from the Texas State Universities Economic Research Institute, Texas lags other states in per capita GDP growth and has a low unemployment rate. Worse, the study found that the Texas job market is not correlated with the number of licensed gambling establishments in the state. Further, it costs money to set up and maintain gambling facilities, and expansion is saddening to the already struggling gambling community.
Critics of the House majority’s actions argue that the legislature overstepped its bounds when it attempts to regulate all of the businesses that are involved in the state’s booming gambling industry. Gambling is a legal activity, but critics say that the House majority’s attempt to dictate which types of establishments can operate on Texas land may ultimately hurt the overall state economy. Proponents of expanded gambling claims that the House majority is merely seeking to rein in abuses that the Texas Casino Commission has deemed illegal, arguing that the current law allows for “loophole” gaming. Proponents counter that the only way the state could achieve such regulation would be to pass similar laws throughout the country, creating a patchwork of state-administered gambling sites. If the House passes a gambling bill, it will effectively gut the Texas Commission and hand the power back to the casinos.
Whether or not the House’s sports betting legislation makes the perfect Texas gambling bill, it has already created chaos in the Senate. The Texas Senate has already voted to move the final pieces of the bill to the House floor for debate, leaving many gambling interests worried about how the issue will play out in Texas. Some Senate proponents of legalized sports betting have criticized the move as a partisan ploy to bolster support for the legislation, while others say the move is simply providing an extra layer of government bureaucracy for which Texas residents are already tired. No matter what the reason, the likelihood of the House passing a sports betting bill this year is bleak.
In order for any legalized Texas sports betting facility to stay in business, it must be approved by the state government. In order to do so, the state will likely need to draft new sports betting laws that mirror those already in place in other states, or the leagues in those states that do allow regulation of sports betting activities. The House majority may be concerned about increased costs, but it is not likely the measure will gain much support from the Senate. The House is debating another non-sports related issue at the moment, and that topic is taxes. Efforts to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the tax plan are expected to conclude in August. Both chambers are looking to raise taxes for public school districts and the state itself.