With California sports betting hopes taking a massive blow at the ballot box, national attention likely will turn to Texas as it gears up for a legislative push next year.
On Monday, Sen. Carol Alvarado pre-filed the first TX sports betting ahead of the session that starts Jan. 10, 2023. The resolution, SJR 17, would create the Texas Gaming Commission, and authorize casino gaming and sports wagering.
The legislation would change the Texas state constitution, requiring two-thirds votes in both chambers of the legislature and then approval by voters via a simple majority at the polls in November 2023. Last year, a sports betting effort gained some momentum before stalling out before the end of the legislative session.
Senator not new to Texas sports betting
Alvarado introduced similar legislation during sessions since 2009, including 2021. The resolution would create multiple license types for casino gaming:
- Four destination resorts within metro areas of 2 million people or more
- Three licenses for existing horse racing tracks
- Two licenses for existing greyhound tracks
- Allow federally recognized tribes to operate casino gaming on tribal land
The resolution would also authorize sports betting, but the legislation does not specify whether or not that includes mobile wagering.
Strong push coming in 2023?
Lawmakers meet every other year in Texas, so legislators have not gathered since sports betting legislation failed to progress in 2021. Texas Sports Betting Alliance spokesperson Cara Gustafson said 2022 was a year to educate lawmakers. She expects a strong push immediately at the start of the 2023 session.
“We have continued our conversations with members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, including with leadership,” Gustafson told LSR last week. “Once the election is over, it will be crunch time before the session so there will certainly be more conversations to be had – especially with freshman members.”
Texas sports teams are already partnering with sportsbooks, like BetMGM with the Houston Astros. Team owners including Mark Cuban, Tilman Fertitta and Jerry Jones are among those pushing for sports betting legalization.