There will not be any last-ditch efforts to convince Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick that an online Texas sports betting bill should go to the ballot box.
“No. The bill is dead,” bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Leach told LSR via text on Thursday.
Patrick already put the kibosh on the online TX sports betting bill after it advanced past the House for the first time.
The Texas legislative session ends Monday. Because state legislators meet in alternating years, the Lone Star State will not have another opportunity to pass sports betting legislation until 2025.
Texas sports betting hopes dashed
Proponents of standalone legislation had been hopeful that it could pass the House and Senate, setting up a Nov. 7 public vote for Texans to decide its fate.
“Texas is a red state,” Patrick, who presides over the Senate, wrote. “Yet the House vote on sports betting was carried by a Dem majority. The Texas Senate doesn’t pass bills without GOP in the minority. The GOP majority guides our path.
“HJR102 also will not be referred. Can’t waste committee/floor time in the last days. #txlege”
Wagering advocates cannot sway Patrick
Patrick has long held an anti-gambling stance. The industry viewed him as perhaps the biggest stumbling block in terms of passage.
The industry held hope that he would soften his stance. But that turned out to be more based in rumor than reality.
Industry insiders believed it was as simple as Patrick not wanting to betray his religious, conservative voter base.
Cowboys’ owner apparently tried
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones endorsed legal Texas sports betting. Jones is believed to have tried changing Patrick’s mind.
“At the end of the day, the Patrick obstacle was one even Jerry Jones couldn’t overcome,” an industry source told LSR.
Under the legislation, sportsbooks would’ve received market access through the professional sports teams in the state.
Texas sports betting hopes for 2025
There is plenty of time between now and 2025. Yet voters just reelected Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott, so they would still be in power by the next cycle.
That leaves the industry wondering what it would take for things to change. One industry insider surmised that it could depend where Texas stands with its budget.
“Will they need money to lower property taxes or fund education?” a source said.
The state currently has a $32.7 billion budget surplus.