PlayUSA Rewind: Texas Lt. Gov. Says No To Sports Betting Idea

Posted By Nicholaus Garcia on February 17, 2021

We are just about a month away from March Madness. But, you won’t find any stories dealing with college basketball just yet.

Instead, TX sports betting is shot down by a top lawmaker, an Arizona sports betting bill deflates, NHL now owns a stake in a sportsbook, and customers bet big on the Super Bowl.

On the rewind:

Sports betting in Texas, no way, not happening

If you are a native Texan and under the impression that the state could legalize sports betting in Texas, well, sorry to burst that bubble. Lawmakers would have a better shot at moving mountains before convincing Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick that collegiate and professional sports wagering is a good idea.

While speaking on a local radio show, Patrick said sports betting was “not going to see the light of day.”

Of course, other factors are in play. The state would have to amend its constitution, which, according to Patrick, doesn’t have enough votes in the state Senate.

“Every year I say the same thing. Don’t talk about revenues. The teams and casinos trying to push sports betting say they could generate $150 million a year by their numbers. That’s a lot of money. But it pays for half a day of our yearly budget,” Patrick said.

TX sports betting is being backed by several Dallas-area sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Texas Rangers (MLB), and Dallas Mavericks (NBA).

The takeaway: Right now, Republicans have an 18-13 majority in the Senate. To send a constitutional amendment to voters, 21 votes are needed. So unless there are eight Republicans out there that can be flipped, the dream of placing a prop bet on the Cowboys is only that, a dream. However, there has been a recent wave of sports betting acceptance in conservative states like Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana. So perhaps there is hope.

Lawmakers undecided on Arizona sports betting

Arizona, we meet again. What – the effort to legalize sports betting is losing steam? No way, who would have thought?

Lawmakers are now poking holes in the Arizona sports betting balloon. This time, a new question deals with small business inclusion.

Comments from David Delos, president of the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, caught the attention of Rep. Diego Espinoza who raised concerns about small businesses’ involvement.

Delos has this to say:

“How can it be that in Arizona that only the big players seem to benefit while small businesses operating with restrictions and being asked to operate under reduced capacity for the foreseeable future are not even mentioned in this bill.”

Out of the 20 jurisdictions with legal sports betting, only DC sports betting permits small businesses to operate a sports betting license.

The takeaway: Honestly, the AZ sports betting bill was top-heavy to begin with. Small businesses’ inclusion will certainly cause some delays, but the real issue continues to be the 50/50 split on licenses. The current bill sets aside 10 tribal sports betting licenses, but 16 tribes operate 24 casinos in Arizona. Do the math.

NHL buys equity in PointsBet

Let’s kick this off bluntly; the NHL owns an equity stake in multiple sportsbooks.

In a deal with sports betting operator PointsBet, the NHL will receive 43,106 ordinary shares worth $500,000 based on the 20-day average as of Feb. 4.

As of June, the NHL also owned 491,683 shares in DraftKings.

The takeaway: This kind of goes against the whole motto of “protecting the integrity of the game,” right? In the greater scheme of things, the NHL owns a minimal stake in PointsBet. While it might not raise eyebrows right away, what’s to stop other professional leagues from buying even larger stakes in sports betting companies?

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Super Bowl numbers continue to roll out

It’s been a week since Super Bowl 55 came and went, but states are still tallying the amount of money wagered on the big game.

While an official total has yet to be released, it’s estimated more than $440 million was wagered on Super Bowl Sunday.

Of course, the amount of money wagered wasn’t the only thing to happen on Feb. 7. Many users reported complications with DraftKings, Fanduel, and BetRivers.

All three sportsbooks use the backend platform Kambi which was “overloaded” by a specific market the company declined to identify.

The takeaway: You would think, on the single biggest betting day of the year, companies would be ready to handle the swarm of users placing bets. Apparently, that was not the case. I’m sure all three sportsbooks will be ready for March Madness when customers will be placing bets for the better part of three weeks.

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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