The online Texas sports betting bill will be heard on Wednesday in the House.
Yet, despite industry optimism, the online TX sports betting bill faces a challenging path to passage this year.
“Right now, there are no votes in the senate,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told ABC 25 last week. “There’s no support I can see. There wasn’t when the session began and there’s not now with the numbers to pass a bill.”
Texas sports betting struggle
The industry has been optimistic because bill sponsor Sen. Lois Kolkhorst is an ally of Patrick. However, Patrick’s comment to the central Texas TV station did nothing to strengthen those beliefs.
In a perfect world for supporters, the hope would be to get the bill amendment in front of voters at the ballot box on Nov. 7.
Yet, first it needs to receive a two-thirds vote in both chambers to get there.
Patrick remains an obstacle
Patrick may be the biggest potential stumbling block in the process, as he has thrown cold water on expanded gambling efforts before.
An industry source had told LSR that Patrick would need to provide a “clear signal” that it needs to happen in 2023. Otherwise, a pathway to legalization is nearly impossible to envision.
And that would mean, given alternate-year state legislative sessions, the wait would continue until at least 2025.
Texas sports betting bill at a glance
Up to 15 operator licenses could be awarded, with market access via the state’s professional sports teams. Several influential owners, including Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and Houston Rockets’ Tilman Fertitta, endorse the bill.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Leach is confident about its passage in the House.
“Based on the feedback I’m getting from my fellow lawmakers on the House side, citizens and stakeholders, I feel very confident,” Leach told PlayUSA. “The feedback I’m getting from legislators is very positive, and I’m talking to a lot of them.”