Texas Won't See Legalized Sports Betting Until 2023...At the Earliest

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Texas Won't See Legalized Sports Betting Until 2023...At the Earliest

At this point, after all the delays and false starts, people have to be wondering whether legal sports betting in Texas will ever become a reality. We don't blame anyone taking this borderline hopeless stance—particularly after the latest development has suggested Texas won't see legalized sports betting until 2023 at the absolute earliest.

Considering that, as of this writing, we're not yet out of 2021, this is a doom-and-gloom scenario. Most used to look at New York and California as the major state hubs lagging behind the times. But legal online sports betting will take effect in New York at the start of 2022, and recently, the pressure on California to legalize sports betting has heightened exponentially.

Texas, on the other hand, doesn't even have legislation on legal sports betting in place, let alone pending. And so, for now, it remains fair to ask: Will Texas actually get legal sports betting by 2023, or is even that a pipe dream? No matter what they do, rest assured you can find an linemaker willing to accept your wagers by checking out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks.

Why Texas Can't Legalize Sports Betting Before 2023

In order to begin the process of legalizing sports betting and going through the necessary steps to activate it, Texas needed to submit legislation by a certain date in early 2021. And as you may have guessed, they failed to meet that deadline.

This means Texas cannot submit a bill to legalize online sports betting until the state's next legislative session. If you're thinking that might happen at the start of 2022, well, you have another thing coming.

The Texas Legislature Committee follows a biennial schedule. In other words, they meet every other year. The next legislation meeting is not set to convene until the second Tuesday in January...of 2023.

All of which ensures Texas will not be able to push through the legalization of sports betting over the next year. There can be special exceptions granted, but without a pending bill already in place, and given the relative absence of enthusiastic support for sports betting across a Republican-heavy state government, chances are the status quo will remain in place for at least the next 12-plus months.

Texas May Have to Wait Past 2023 for Legal Sports Betting

Many of you might have now realized that if Texas cannot even get the ball rolling on sports betting legislation until 2023, there's a possibility that legal online sports wagering will take much longer to implement.

On the bright side, the Texas Legislature Committee can meet for a maximum of 140 consecutive days, giving them plenty of time to hash out and install major governmental changes. On the not-so-bright side, legal online sports betting is not something that can be rolled out overnight.

After green lighting online sports wagering, Texas will have to accept applications and bids for licenses, choose which sportsbooks are allowed to operate in the state, lay out on-site sports-betting protocols for professional sports teams and their arenas, set up and test online-wagering systems for each individual licensee and so much more.

Going through all these steps can take time—not days or weeks, but months. And it sometimes takes even longer than that.

Sports Betting Could Be Easy to Implement in Texas

Supporters of legal sports betting in Texas can latch on to DraftKings' current presence within the state. They already have a license to accept daily fantasy sports wagers, so it's not like Texas doesn't have the infrastructure in place to get legal sports betting up and running.

There's also the support of local sports teams. Leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have deals with certain sportsbooks. You better believe Texas-based teams like the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Houston Texans (NFL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Houston Rockets (NBA), Houston Astros (MLB) and Dallas Stars (NHL), among others, will be urging the state to give sports betting the government's stamp of approval.

On top of all that, there's always the potential revenue Texas continues to leave on the table by not legalizing online sports betting. Given the state's massive population, Texas stands to earn billions of dollars in tax revenue from sportsbooks that are allowed to operate in their territory over the next half-decade. 

Money talks. And billions of dollars has a way of saying an awful lot.

When Will Texas Legalize Sports Betting?

Here's the good news: Legal online sports betting will eventually come to Texas.

Even with their conservative-leaning politics, it's inevitable. The pressure from pro sports teams will invariably be too great, and every state government will remain at a cash deficit for years to come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now for the bad news: Most experts agree that Texas won't get legal sports betting in 2022...or 2023...or even 2024. Due to the procedural constraints involved in legalizing sports betting, the current aim seems to be 2025, with an outside chance of it happening by 2024.

People in Texas must, as ever, continue to wait.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks to see if you can find one that will accept your bets no matter where you live:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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