Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything except gambling. Even embracing the industry has proven an uphill battle.
Texas stands as the second-most populous state in the United States. It features some of the most storied college and professional teams in history, from the Dallas Cowboys to the Texas Longhorns. Both factors have some pundits in agreement that legalized sports betting belongs in the Lone Star State.
Yet Texas is infamous for being one of the least gambling-friendly states in the country.
Just two casinos operate in the state, both of them tribal-owned, as do a handful of racetracks. What legal gambling that does exist in Texas is severely limited. So it should come as no surprise that lawmakers have dragged their feet when it comes to expanding the industry to include online gambling and sports betting.
Sporadic movement has taken place to potentially change that. But hopes should likely be tempered for the legalization of Texas sports betting online.
While even discussing gambling expansion in Texas has caused rifts, a two-tiered proposal emerged in February 2019.
The 15-page bill, HB 1275, arrived courtesy of Rep. Eddie Lucio III and would authorize online and mobile wagering. In addition, the measure would tab the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to oversee the industry, which would see a 6.25% tax rate imposed “on each bet placed by a sports bettor.”
Under HB 1275, bettors would have the ability to wager on professional and college sports.
As the bill would require a referendum to amend the state constitution, one needing approval from voters, Lucio also introduced House Joint Resolution 61.
In order to move forward, the referendum would need two-thirds support in both the House and Senate. Only then can the order be placed on the ballot for public vote.
Both proposals were referred to Licensing & Administrative Procedures. As the Texas Legislature only convenes every two years, the two proposals have sat in limbo, though they could be reviewed in early 2021.
A total of five permits would become available if sports betting is legalized under this bill, with two skins authorized for each holder.
Of course, people go crazy for sports in Texas, which could obviously help sports betting thrive in the Lone Star State. That said, there has been plenty of pushback on previous proposals.
For years, bills authorizing casinos and daily fantasy sports have stalled.
Most people do not realize that the Texas Legislature meets only in odd years. As such, the two bills have gone untouched for nearly two years.
The earliest lawmakers can revisit the pair of proposals is January 2021. Voters would need to approve the referendum for a constitutional amendment in fall 2021. Then the state could move forward to shaping the Texas sports betting industry.
But even advancing legislation to the November ballot appears to be an improbable situation.
For years, bills have been cast to the side due to a variety of factors, ranging from disagreement with what measures attempt to accomplish or simply because of party affiliation. These sports betting proposals, for example, were introduced by a Democrat in a Republican-filled state, which does not bode well for the future of the bills.
Only two casinos operate in the state. And any efforts to add more have quickly been rebuffed in the past.
While the existing casinos remain difficult to access, the latest proposals would allow for online and mobile sports betting.
As a result, and if somehow legislation passes to legalize sports betting, those located within Texas’ borders would potentially have access to up to 10 online sportsbooks.
Obviously, this is all hypothetical, as plenty of work — and wishful thinking — remains for the proposed legislation.
As the bill is written, operators would be authorized to offer wagering on professional and college sports.
Other states with legalized sports betting typically feature a multitude of wagering options, including American and international sports.
Visit any number of legal sportsbooks, and you will see common betting market threads:
On top of all this, operators also offer markets on more niche sports, including Australian rules football, cricket, rugby, table tennis and darts.
If Texas ever does legalize sports betting, it would behoove lawmakers to allow bettors to wager on Texas-based teams. After all, the state does feature some of the most recognized professional and college teams in the country.
In the four major North American professional leagues alone, Texas boasts eight franchises:
If that weren’t enough, Texas also features 12 Division I colleges competing in the FBS and a host of others in the FCS.
While each state that legalizes and launches sports betting differs in many ways, several shared traits do exist.
Among them is the minimum age for individuals to participate in regulated sports betting.
No doubt, then, Texas would follow the trend and require bettors to be at least 21 years old in order to place regulated wagers.
Online sportsbooks elsewhere offer many methods for funding a sports betting account. Often, the list includes:
Sportsbooks also frequently offer deposit bonuses, so paying attention to bonus codes to receive said bonuses is recommended.
Gaining access to winnings is usually fairly simple. Many online sportsbooks in other states allow customers to use similar methods for withdrawal.
Popular options include PayPal and similar online payment processors. Sportsbooks also offer bank transfers and e-checks as well as paying via cash at the casino cage.
No. While lawmakers will review several bills in early 2021 to potentially change that down the road, as it stands, online wagering in Texas is illegal.
It’s difficult to say. Legislators could address two bills in early 2021: one to put a referendum on the November ballot in order to amend the state constitution, and another to actually legalize sports betting. Even if all goes well, we’re looking at over a year, at least, until the industry is actually legalized.
Likely yes, and not only on Texas’ teams in the four major North American professional leagues. It seems likely legislators would also authorize betting on the vast number of Division I colleges in the state.
It’s not recommended. Using an offshore sportsbook may appear like a decent idea, but few consumer protections exist. So, for example, if your offshore betting account disappears, you will have no legal recourse to retrieve the money within that account.