Here's Even More Proof Texas Sports Betting Remains a Potential Goldmine

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Nov 10, 2023 12:00 AM
Over one million people have attempted to partake in Texas sports betting since September.

Sports betting in the USA is now legal in 37 states as well as Washington, D.C. And yet, Texas sports betting remains conspicuously absent from that majority—even though it’s clear the interest among residents is ultra-high.

Conversations surrounding the future of sports gambling in The Lone Star State tend to focus on everything other than the consumers. The debate spotlights the disdain for commercializing and expanding the Texas casino industry among members from the House of Representatives and Senate. It notates how many online sportsbooks in the United States would love to crack one of the country’s biggest, if not the absolute biggest, sports gambling market. It breaks down how state tribes stand to benefit from sports betting legalization. And it definitely, without fail, emphasizes who much revenue the state of Texas could earn from sports betting.

However, there is another important variable in all this. In fact, we would argue it’s the single most important variable: the people. In this case we’re referring to the voting population, and whether they would support the legalization of sports betting in Texas. They should be the focus. They should always be the focus. But political agendas so often relegate the wants and sentiments of constituents to a secondary concern.

Technically, it isn’t clear whether that’s happening with Texas sports betting. Residents have not been given the opportunity to vote on it—to have their voices heard in an official capacity. And there’s a chance any Texas sports betting legislation won’t even require a ballot presence. 

Even so, the preferences of the population should always take center stage. Especially when you consider just how many Texans seem enamored with the legalization of sports betting.

Over 1 Million Texans Have Tried to Bet On Sports Since the Start of September 2023

You’re reading the above headline correctly: Over 1 million people have tried betting on sports in Texas since the start of September. This data comes from the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, a coalition made up of pro sports teams and online sportsbooks who are committed to highlighting the merits of legalized gambling in The Lone Star State. Here is PlayTexas’ Hill Kerby with more on these figures:

“The Texas Sports Betting Alliance recently announced that 1.14 million attempts to bet on sports occurred in The Lone Star State between Sept. 1 and Oct. 23. This number is up 68.5 percent from the same timeframe a year ago. The Alliance’s data comes from GeoComply, which collects statistics showing how many Texans attempted to bet at legal sportsbooks in other states. Over 20,000 came on Oct. 20, 22 and 23, during Games 5 through 7 of the American League Championship Series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.”

Some opponents to gambling will point out that this mega upsurge in Texas sports betting attempts not only coincided with two in-state teams making the 2023 MLB playoffs, but also with the start of the 2023 NFL regular season. These will be valid arguments. But that’s also the entire point.

Legal betting is intended to help states capitalize on the busiest and most popular times on the sports calendar. By not having an avenue to bet on sports in Texas when the NFL started and when the Texas Rangers won the 2023 World Series, the state likely missed out on tens of millions of dollars in business. And that potentially amounts to millions of dollars in tax revenue.

Without Legal Texas Sports Betting, Fans Are Seeking Out Alternatives

Talk of missed sports betting revenue wouldn’t be a huge deal if Texas' gambling laws guaranteed that money wasn’t being wagered elsewhere. But they don’t. Just because Texas blocked over 1 million wagers in-state doesn’t mean people didn’t seek out alternatives.

In actuality, it’s just the opposite. As Texas Sports Betting Alliance spokesperson Cara Gustafson explained in a press release, people from Texas currently “place over two million bets annually at illegal, offshore sportsbooks.” And this doesn’t account for those who travel across state lines and bet on sports legally at retail locations elsewhere.

It’s simple,” Gustafson said in the release. ”The data show that Texans want the freedom to place bets on their favorite teams safely and legally. Texas is one of only 12 states that have not legalized sports betting in some form. As the demand for a legal market in Texas continues to grow, we look forward to partnering with fans, teams and the betting platforms to continue conversations with the Legislature to pass sports betting in 2025.”

Will Texas Actually Legalize Sports Betting at the Next Opportunity?

Conventional wisdom suggests members from the Texas House of Representatives and Senate will see this data and adjust their agenda accordingly. But we know better.

While Texans may be flocking to other states and offshore sportsbooks at an all-time-high rate, this data isn’t necessarily new. Numerous studies have shown that the majority of voters would support the legalization of Texa sports betting in some form. The failure to launch any sort of initiatives is driven more so by the whims of officials in charge. 

Chief among the opponents blocking the legalization of gambling in The Lone Star State is Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. He has skirted the chance to even discuss sports betting bills in the Senate that were approved in the House of Representatives. Heck, never mind Texas’ voting population. Patrick’s agenda may not even be an accurate portrait of what most government officials want at this point.

Arguments against sports betting will continue to be made in droves. Some opponents have valid concerns. But the adversarial stance against sports betting isn’t fueled by enviable morality or true economic benefit. It’s mostly outmoded or the result of deadfast opposition to the commercialization of Texas casinos.

Still, the state can take strides to work around sticking points—to make legal sports betting in Texas even safer than it might be elsewhere. To this point, though, the top of the food chain doesn’t seem interested in even having a discussion. 

Whether that changes anytime soon is debatable. What’s not debatable is the interest among constituents in Texas sports betting. It doesn’t just exist. It’s inarguably prevalent.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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