Cowboys owner Jerry Jones owns state in DraftKings; Texas trying to legalize DFS
Legal Sports Report

Cowboy Up: Texas Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Expected To Get Push From Romo

Romo Texas fantasy sports
With Florida seemingly off the table, the biggest prize on the daily fantasy sports legislative map is Texas.

And there are signs that the effort is getting an even bigger push from DraftKings, FanDuel and proponents of legal DFS, with a former Dallas Cowboy getting in the mix.

Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and DFS

The Dallas Morning News reports that former Cowboys quarterback and now CBS analyst Tony Romo is expected to help lobby for a DFS regulation bill. Romo recently retired from the NFL.

On Wednesday, a source familiar with the legislative effort told Legal Sports Report that Romo met with many lawmakers privately on fantasy sports.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, we know, is an investor in DraftKings via Legends Hospitality. It appears that the relationship between Jones and Romo is still a good one, although it’s not clear if Jones has anything to do with Romo’s planned appearance at the Texas statehouse.

ESPN reported that Jones had pushed for DFS legality in Nevada during discussions about the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, something that Gov. Brian Sandoval flatly denied.

It’s not the first time that an NFL player has been brought into push a DFS bill. Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly helped the push in New York. That eventually paid off in turning around the legality of DFS from illegal to legal in the Empire State.

Romo was famously caught up in a kerfuffle involving fantasy sports in 2015, when the NFL wouldn’t allow him to attend a fantasy convention in Las Vegas.

The rest of the DFS environment in Texas

The stakes for DFS are high in Texas for a variety of reasons:

  • Attorney General Ken Paxton declared DFS to be illegal gambling under state law last year.
  • FanDuel does not serve the state because of that opinion, while DraftKings does. It’s not clear how the two companies will treat Texas if and when they merge.
  • The state legislature only meets every two years. The next opportunity to pass a law would be 2019. The legislature is scheduled to meet through the end of the month.

What’s next for the DFS bill in Texas

The Morning News termed the legislation as “stalled” in the House, making it a critical time for the Texas daily fantasy sports push.

So far, the fantasy sports bill has made it through a House committee. That hearing was at points contentious, with anti-gambling interests coming out in force.

The fate of the Texas DFS bill is still to be determined. But it’s clear the industry won’t go down without a fight.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.