Houston Texans Trade for Stefon Diggs Raises Texas Sports Betting Interest

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 3, 2024 08:00 PM
Houston Texans Trade for Stefon Diggs Raises Texas Sports Betting Interest

The Houston Texans agreed to trade for Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday. The addition of an All-Pro receiver to the team’s offense is already having a seismic shift on NFL odds to win Super Bowl 59. It’s also going to drive additional interest in Texas sports betting.

Blockbuster trades always have ripple effects on in-market sports gambling. Especially in football. Online NFL futures is an incredibly lucrative part of legal sports betting in the United States. And there is no more popular sport in the country than the National Football League.

Combine this with the Texans making the 2024 NFL playoffs, and you have a recipe for a major uptick in sports betting throughout the Lone Star State

However, this upswing in interest—beyond just betting on the Dallas Cowboys—rings hollow. As most already know, sports betting in Texas remains illegal. And it isn’t quite clear when that will change. A 2023 Texas sports betting bill advanced through the House of Representatives but ultimately petered out in the Senate, in no small part because Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick remains opposed to legal sports gambling. 

Of course, Mr. Patrick is far from the only person in power against the legalization of sports gambling in the Lone Star State. In this case, though, that’s not really the point. Texans have and will continue to find ways to bet on sports. That’s the primary issue. And it will no doubt be exacerbated by the Stefon Diggs trade to the Texans.

The Texans’ Super Bowl 59 Odds are Already on the Move

First and foremost, we need to look at the market conditions that will lead to more attempts in Texas to bet on the NFL. As it turns out, despite coming before the 2024 NFL draft, Diggs’ arrival is having a material impact on Super Bowl 59 betting odds. And it’s happening on two fronts. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Texans were a +2200 to win Super Bowl 59. That line has moved to +1500 since the Diggs trade. This constitutes a massive adjustment. Only six teams now have better odds to win the Super Bowl in 2025 than the Texans.

One of those teams remains the Bills. Which is strange. Buffalo opened as a +1400 to win Super Bowl 59. That line has actually been nudged up to +1300 following the Diggs trade as well as many other pivotal exits. This is likely a temporary market condition. Bettors on the hunt for good value probably flocked to bet on Buffalo Bills futures after the trade, prompting online sportsbooks in the United States to make adjustments. Barring a star acquisition of their own, we’d expect these Bills Super Bowl odds to amble further away from even money. 

Texas Sports Betting Attempts are on the Rise 

In the immediate aftermath of the Stefon Diggs trade, there was a (loosely) reported increase in Texas sports betting attempts. These upticks are detected by geotracking data, which basically tells us how many Texans tried to access online sportsbooks from inside the Lone Star State. And for the record, the increases do not include any residents who crossed state lines to submit online NFL bets or place wagers with physical sportsbooks.

Granted, this news isn’t particularly surprising. In fact, it’s merely the continuation of a larger trend. Sports betting in Texas is on the rise and has been for some time—even though it’s not legal inside the state. What’s more, Michael Mooney of Axios recently reported on a study done that shows the Texas sports betting market is already a multi-billion dollar industry:

“The big picture: Texans place more than $8 billion worth of bets annually, according to a study from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, a gambling industry research firm.The study found that the state is losing out on nearly $300 million in tax revenue, based on a proposed 10 percent tax rate. Texans spend roughly $5 billion a year in the adjacent states and Las Vegas, Clyde Barrow, a gambling policy expert and a professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, told the Texas Standard in December. Much of that money is wagered at casinos in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Given these figures, it’s honestly impressive that sports betting in the Lone Star State has yet to pick up more steam. Among the remaining states without legal sports gambling, these revenue projections are exceeded only by California sports betting forecasts.

So, What’s the Future of Sports Gambling in Texas?

Let’s make one thing clear: The Stefon Diggs trade will not redefine the Texas sports betting conversation. It merely underscores, yet again, what state officials already know: There is a demand for Texas sports gambling—a gargantuan.

At this point, that interest may even be the majority rule. As we have cited previously, a recent poll conducted by the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs found that roughly 75 percent of Texans support some form of legal sports betting. It is on congress to hammer out and pass a measure that makes an electoral ballot. 

As things currently stand, that’s not happening until at least 2026. The Texas state legislature only meets in odd-numbered years. That means they won’t convene until after the 2024 general elections. And if they pass a Texas sports betting initiative in 2025, it won’t be voted upon by residents until the 2026 election process. And by that point, sports gambling in Texas may not go live until 2027

For many, this will feel like forever away. There’s always the chance it gets expedited with a special meeting among state officials and subsequent vote. However, that’s unlikely. In fact, it  may be more likely that Texas sports betting doesn’t get legalized until after 2027.

Still, transactions like the Stefon Diggs trade remind us this issue isn’t going anywhere. With or without official legalization, Texans are finding ways to bet on sports more frequently than ever.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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