Sports betting legalization will not be coming to Texas this year. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick dismissed the online Texas sports betting bill that had recently cleared the House, marking a first for the Lone Star State. However, the triumph was short-lived as Patrick expressed no uncertainty in halting the progress of the bill in the Senate. As a result, proponents of the bill, including Rep. Jeff Leach, declared the bill “dead” on May 25.
Patrick’s decision, just two days before the conclusion of the 2023 Texas legislative session, means the bill must be put on hold until the next legislative meet-up in 2025. This is due to the fact that state legislators convene biennially.
Preparations for Public Vote Thwarted
Advocates for the sports betting legislation had been optimistic, marking November 7 as the date for a public vote, allowing Texans to decide the future of sports betting in their state. Patrick, however, dashed these hopes in a series of public statements on May 13 and 14. His stance stemmed from his belief that sports betting was carried by a Democratic majority in a Republican state, leading to his refusal to refer HJR102.
Patrick’s consistent anti-gambling stance is well-known, and the gambling industry sees him as the primary barrier to legalizing sports betting in Texas. Despite industry hopes that Patrick might soften his views, the Lieutenant Governor shows no signs of disappointing his conservative voters.
Influential Advocates for Sports Betting
Several prominent figures have attempted to sway Patrick’s views on sports betting. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has reportedly been unable to overcome the “Patrick obstacle”. Jones was a supporter of the bill, as it would allow sportsbooks to penetrate the local market via professional sports teams.
As the curtain falls on the 2023 legislative session, advocates for the sports betting bill now turn their eyes to 2025. Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott, both recently re-elected, will retain the power to influence the bill’s future. Meanwhile, the industry is exploring strategies to change the minds of legislators. Funding education or property taxes are among the potential persuasive factors, but with a hefty budget surplus of $32.7 billion, Texas currently stands firm. The journey for the sports betting bill, it seems, is far from over.
The post Texas Sports Betting Bill Hits Roadblock After House Approval appeared first on iGaming.org.