To Top

Texas Twist: Former Governor Supports Sports Betting In Lone Star State

Written By J.R. Duren on February 13, 2024
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Interviewed

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Texans surely had mixed feelings about the big game after the Dallas Cowboys flamed out (again) and the Houston Texans surged.

But there was no ambivalence with former Gov. Rick Perry, who posted a video to X before the Super Bowl voicing his support of legalized sports betting in Texas.

“Texas is built on the core principle of individual freedom and we pride ourselves on being an economic powerhouse in the nation,” Perry said. “Legalizing mobile sports betting in Texas will finally allow the state to protect consumers from illegal offshore betting sites while keeping the money generated in Texas to benefit Texans.”

Illegal offshore sites generate $8.7 billion in bets, Perry says

Perry made his two-minute, 18-second video in partnership with the Sports Betting Alliance, a national advocacy group for the legalization of sports betting.

Perry claimed that people in Texas have placed around $8.7 billion in wagers with illegal offshore betting sites. However, the former governor did not specify if that figure represented yearly betting or total betting.

His arguments in support of mobile sports wagering focused on two areas: consumer protection and revenue.

There is no protection with offshore betting

He then went on to argue that offshore sites are a hazard for consumers:

  • There is no guarantee that offshore sites will give bettors their payouts
  • If offshore sites refuse to pay out winning bets, consumers have no legal recourse to get their money back.

“In this current unregulated environment, there is no guarantee that folks will see their payout or their personal information is safe, for that matter,” Perry said.

Texas is losing revenue to offshore books and other states

Consumer protection aside, Perry said the second motivation behind legalizing Texas sports betting is the sheer number of revenue dollars the state is missing out on.

He said a mature Texas sports betting market could generate around $556 million in tax revenue each year.

Because sports wagering isn’t legal, though, that revenue money is going to offshore sportsbooks and neighboring states like Louisiana where sports betting is legal.

“Given that Texans are already participating in mobile sports betting, legalization would be a home run for all involved,” Perry said.

How likely is legal Texas sports betting?

Right now, not likely. Numerous attempts to legalize sports betting and casino gaming in Texas have failed. The state’s conservative political ecosystem has made it incredibly difficult to make progress on regulation.

Even with that, sports betting and gambling legislation in Texas made it out of the House for the first time in state history in 2023.

That was a huge victory for a state where all forms of online gambling are illegal, including lottery and Texas online casinos. Daily fantasy sports apps from DraftKings and FanDuel are legal, however.

You can stay up to date on gambling legislation across the country and in Texas with our 2024 casino bill tracker.

J.R. Duren Avatar
Written by
J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren
Privacy Policy