Texas Sports Betting Bill Passes House Committee, Still A Long Shot

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Texas sports betting

A pair of online Texas sports betting bills advanced through the House Committee on State Affairs on Monday by a 9-3 vote. 

The online TX sports betting bills now move to the House Committee on Calendars. They would then have the potential to go to the House floor, as earlier reported by the Dallas Morning News

“We remain focused on keeping this momentum going and appreciate the hard work of the House author Rep. Jeff Leach,” Texas Sports Betting Alliance spokesperson Cara Gustafson told LSR.

Texas sports wagering still a long shot

Yet even if the bills clear the House, which would be a positive step for this cycle, they are not expected to clear the Senate. The Texas state legislative session ends on May 29

HB1942 and HJR102 had been left pending on March 22 following a hearing in the House Committee on State Affairs. 

During the hearing, concerns arose regarding the proposed tax rate (10%) and state licensing fee ($500,000.) There also was pushback from the Kickapoo Tribe.

Patrick: No momentum in Senate

Leach would like to get the bills in front of voters on Nov. 7. Yet that cannot occur unless the bills clear both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds vote

According to one influential policymaker, it seems there is no momentum in the Senate. 

“Right now, there are no votes in the Senate,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told ABC 25 on March 17. “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 interest for state

At the hearing, Rep. John Smithee voiced his potential concern if Texas was truly maximizing its venue regarding the sports betting licenses. 

The standalone legislation would provide for up to 15 online sports betting licenses. Market access would come through the state’s professional sports franchises. 

“My interest is not in making professional sports franchise wealthy,” Smithee said at the hearing.