Will Texas Sports Betting be Legalized by 2025?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 13, 2023 12:00 AM
After falling short in 2023, will Texas sports betting succeed in 2025?

Now that the latest Texas sports betting bill has officially flopped, the discussion must shift to what's next. This, of course, entails considering a number of questions. But the answer to one matters more than any others: How far away is Texas from the legalization of sports betting?

Gray areas are peppered throughout this issue. It's not just as simple as pitting pro-sports betting officials vs. anti-sports betting lawmakers. With that said, there are effectively two outlooks wagering war against one another now that the 2023 Texas legislative sessions have adjourned.

First, there are the optimists. They believe that sports betting in Texas is closer to approval than not. For the most part, this is painted as a bold stance. Then again, House Bill 1942, is technically the closest that The Lone Star State has come to giving their stamp of approval to sports betting. This implies some level of progress. And that momentum can perhaps trickle into the next round of meetings 2025.

Opponents of legal sports betting in Texas will argue the state isn't all that close to green lighting any gambling measures. Key figureheads in power still aren't considered allies in the discussion, and the Senate has yet to even seriously vote on a legal sports betting bill.

Confused? You're not alone. And given the seesawing nature of The Lone Star State's sports betting stance, it can be difficult to discern the next step. We're going to try parsing all the necessary details anyway.

Here's The Good News for Anyone Holding Out Hope that Texas Sports Betting is on the Verge of Breakthrough

Regardless of where you fall on this issue, momentum is definitely building on the Texas sports betting front.

Extensive research has been conducted on the current Texas sports betting market. The returns vary, but they all nod toward a similar conclusion: People within the state are finding ways to bet on sports. Many Texans will travel across state lines and place wagers wherever sports betting is already legal. Others have found reliable offshore solutions, such as any of the sites that appear in our reviews of the best online sportsbooks. Between these two alternatives, it's estimated that Texans are already spending more than $1 billion per year gambling on sports.

More and more lawmakers want to ensure the state gets a piece of that action by regulating it and taxing it. Many of these same officials have also argued that the legalization of sports betting should make it safer for residents to do so. After all, regulated markets are surely better than unregulated ones.

This growing shift was reflected inside the Texas House of Representatives during the latest round legislature meetings. Members voted overwhelmingly in favor of HB 1942, passing the measure through to the Senate with an approval rating north of 70 percent. That should, in theory, bode well when the state reconvenes to discuss the matter.

Many Obstacles Still Stand Between Texas and the Legalization of Sports Betting

If the House of Representatives is a driving force for Texas sports betting, then the Senate is the immovable object standing in its way.

Time and time again, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has indicated there isn't even enough sports betting support within the Senate to bring initiatives to an official vote. It was the same story, yet again, in 2023. The Texas Senate didn't even vote on HB 1942, because there apparently wasn't enough interest behind it. Other issues took priority over what was considered a formality.

This is a legitimate hurdle Texas sports betting needs to clear. And it won't be easy. Lieutenant Governor Patrick is among the staunchest opponents of legal gambling, and supporters have thus far been unsuccessful in their attempts to sway him.

Take what happened this year. Lieutenant Governor Patrick is known for showing minimal support of Democrat-backed bills. So, officials made sure HB 1942 was a bi-partisan proposal. Not only that, but the authors also ensured that some of the most conservative Republicans ranked among its supporters. That maneuver still didn't change Lieutenant Governor Patrick's tune.

The same goes for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He tried appealing to Patrick's business interests throughout this year's process, according to a recent report from Legal Sports Report. And yet, not even his power and influence could leave a dent.

What's a Realistic Timeline for Sports Betting to Arrive in Texas?

It isn't all doom and gloom for Texas sports betting. The Senate agreed to defer HB 1942, which means they will have the capacity to revisit (and tweak) it later on. That's much different than rejecting it altogether.

Still, the Texas legislature meets only every other year. They won't convene again until 2025. And even if they approve a sports betting bill, the rollout process could take years.

Any Texas sports betting bill will likely require voter approval. That's not a big deal in a nutshell. Polls have already shown a majority of Texans support legal sports betting in some form. But since the state's legislature doesn't reconvene until 2025, it means that any sports betting initiative can't appear on a general election ballot until 2026.

From there, assuming voters pass whatever the legislature approves, Texas probably won't be able to roll out legal sports betting before the start of 2027. And again, this all rests on the state passing a sports betting bill in the first place. With Lieutenant Governor Patrick still slated to be in power during the 2025, this is anything but a given.

And so, the Texas sports betting timeline remains what it's always been: categorically uncertain.

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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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