Texas sports betting legislation took its first big step forward Monday.
The House State Affairs Committee passed HB 1942 and HJR 102 by a vote of 9-3.
It’s the first successful vote ever for Texas sports betting legislation.
The bills, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Leach, got a hearing in March. Representatives from sports teams, Texas racetracks and national sportsbook operators testified in favor at the hearing.
“We remain focused on keeping this momentum going and appreciate the hard work of house author Rep. Leach,” Cara Gustafson, spokesperson for the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, told PlayUSA.
Casino bills HB 2843/HJR 155, which have a retail sports betting component, also passed the committee by the same vote.
No changes made in committee
No amendments to the bill were made before committee passage.
During the March hearing, Texas Indian tribes had asked for changes to ensure their inclusion. The Kickapoo Tribe of Texas said it had amendment language for tribal sports betting through a tribal-state compact under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Also, multiple committee members had expressed interest in maximizing revenue to the state with increased taxes and licensing fees.
Leach said during the hearing that he would work with the tribes and lawmakers to find solutions to their issues.
Any such changes were left to address on the House floor.
What’s in the Texas sports betting bills
Key details of the Texas online sports wagering bills advanced by committee include:
- Online-only sports betting (no retail component) regulated by the Texas Lottery Commission
- Online sports wagering platforms pay $500,000 for a three-year mobile sports betting license, renewable for $100,000
- 10% tax rate
- 2% of tax collected goes to a problem gambling and addiction grant fund
- Requires the use of official league data for in-game betting
- Allows betting on college sports, esports, and amateur athletic events such as the Olympics, but not youth sports
- Permits operators to deduct promotional credits and the federal excise tax from gross wagering revenue
- Defines sports bets as single-game wagers, teaser wagers, parlays, over-unders, moneylines, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-play wagers, proposition wagers and straight wagers
- A house resolution to amend the state constitution must pass the legislature by a two-thirds vote, then go in front of voters in November as a ballot measure
What’s next for Texas sports betting
Texas sports betting legislation only needs to go through the procedural Calendars Committee before reaching the House floor for second reading.
Leach previously told PlayUSA that he was confident in getting Texas sports wagering through the House. This was the first step.
“I know how to count votes and I know what’s necessary to build coalitions,” Leach said. “I’m not just interested in filing a bill. I’m interested in passing a bill.”
The Texas legislative session ends May 29.