Fanatics ‘Optimistic’ On Texas Sports Betting Bill Chances

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Texas sports betting

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently supported the legalization of online Texas sports betting. 

Yet it remains unclear whether the Lone Star State can generate enough momentum in the legislature to get online TX sports betting during this year’s session. 

“I recognize it’s going to be a tough lift in Texas for sure, but I still remain optimistic,” Fanatics VP of government affairs Brandt Iden told LSR last week. “Until I believe the door is closed by the Lieutenant Governor, and I haven’t seen that yet, I still think there’s a chance. 

“It’s going to be tough, but I still think there’s a chance.” 

Fanatics in Texas sports betting alliance

While its new logo only recently came on the lobbying group’s official website, Fanatics Sportsbook is a founding member of the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, the operator confirmed.  

The SBA is a lobbying group comprised of pro teams in the state, as well as sportsbooks including:

“It’s about making sure we’re working for the same outcome in Texas,” Iden said. “It made sense for us. I believe it’s a good partnership.” 

An SBA spokesperson recently told LSR that the group hopes to announce a sports betting bill in early February. The bill will provide market access to the operators through the pro teams. 

Texas sports betting stumbling block

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told an Austin TV station that he “did not see any movement” on expanded gambling. But Patrick also has not been publicly dismissive of the idea, at least as of yet, leaving the door ajar. 

Patrick shot down expanded gambling in the past and is perceived of as arguably the biggest stumbling block in the process short of Gov. Greg Abbott

Any gaming legislation would alter the TX state constitution, therefore requiring two-thirds votes in both legislative houses and then approval by voters via a simple majority at the polls in November 2023

Poll: Texans want gambling expansion

A University of Houston poll showed that 75% (41% strongly support, 34% somewhat) of Texans backed a proposed bill amendment by Sen. Carol Alvarado that would legalize sports betting and allow for the addition of up to four resort-style casinos, according to the Dallas Morning News

The DMN also reported that Las Vegas Sands has increased its own lobbying push for Texas casinos. Sands has hired at least 63 lobbyists, while paying them at least $5.9 million this year. 

A source told LSR this week that Sands will not let a standalone sports betting bill go in Texas.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the DMN that he would like to partner with Sands to build a casino resort adjacent to his team’s next arena. 

LSR reporter Pat Evans contributed to this story.