As the push for legal sports betting in Texas continues to unfold at full force, professional sports franchises are starting to take it upon themselves to lay out the pros of bringing gambling to the Lone Star State. Not surprisingly, no one has been as vocal about the benefit of Texas legal sports betting as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
For starters, Jones has set a precedent for his support of legal gambling. On more than one occasion, he has pointed out how the state of Texas is doing a disservice to itself by prohibiting it. But his comments have taken on a new level of pointedness and specificity with Texas sports betting fast-tracked for legalization in 2023.
Granted, anything Jerry Jones and any other pro sports franchises in the Lone Star State say on the subject has to be taken with a grain of salt. Sports teams are businesses, and these entities have every incentive to support Texas sports betting. Pretty much every team stands to make a boatload of money if gambling is legalized.
Some of them are even already riding the gravy train. Many have inked partnerships with some of the top online sportsbooks in anticipation of Texas changing their gaming laws and creating the chance to expand and profit even more heavily off sponsorship agreements.
Still, just because Jones and his peers have a vested interest in sports betting doesn't mean everything they say should be thrown out the window. On the contrary, billionaire sports owners have plenty of influence when it comes to public policy. And while they're more likely to impact whether stadium plans receive public or private funding, the discussion points Jones recently laid out are no doubt going to be explored further during the Texas legislative meetings.
Jerry Jones Explains the Primary Benefit of Texas Legal Sports Betting
Many might expect Jerry Jones to focus on the entertainment part of legal sports betting arguments. He owns a pro sports team, after all. Pumping up the enjoyment and unique experience made possible by gambling is second nature for most in his position.
In actuality, though, Jones has made another benefit his primary focus: Texas' chance to capitalize on a sports betting market that already exists. Here is what he recently told the Dallas Morning News: "Well, I think it’s really a thing that needs to be addressed at this time. One of the reasons why I think it does is because it’s happening at this time. There’s a huge amount of gaming going on in and around sports at this time."
Jones isn't wrong. Though Texas has yet to legalize domestic sports betting, there are plenty of reputable sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks that will allow people from the Lone Star State to set up and service an account. On top of that, many states surrounding Texas have already implemented legal sports betting, which allows residents to travel elsewhere in order to place their bets.
Of course, it is impossible to pinpoint just how much money Texans are betting each and every year. But multiple outlets have made an attempt to ballpark it over the years. Each time, these studies estimate that Texas is already a multi-billion dollar sports betting market despite the practice still being deemed illegal.
What's more, it's likely these forecasts wind up on the lower end. It is infinitely harder to figure out how much money is being wagered by Texans abroad.The rise of online sports betting has made such transactions tough to track. And given that more than 75 percent of all legal bets placed in the United States during the 2022 calendar year were processed online, you can only imagine how much business isn't being accounted for when estimating the amount of off-shore wagers being placed.
Could Devoting Sports Betting Revenue to Education Sway the Future of Gambling in Texas?
When making his case for legal sports betting throughout Texas, Jones is now focusing a great deal on the money that can be generated for educational spending. Here is what he told the Dallas Morning News on the subject:
"To have all of the benefits or all of the control over it, it needs to be recognized and parameters put on it and discipline put in it. Then, also the benefits that go, can go in Texas, could adhere to the right kind of people or some property tax. Certainly, help educate our great state’s children. All of those things can be enhanced by something that’s presently going on in a big, big way and we should be getting the benefit of it as citizens of Texas. Other states surrounding us are. So it’s a time I think for us to set the rules up and execute on it and get the benefits of it."
Many expect this to be a hallmark of the next Texas sports betting bill in 2023.
Recently, other states have been able to garner more support for legal sports betting in the House of Representatives and Senate by mapping out specific plans for the revenue generated from gambling. Education is routinely mentioned before anything else in these situations. Property tax cuts—and the money that puts back in the pockets of certain residents—has been a close second.
It makes sense that Jones would go this route now. With interest in Texas sports betting seemingly at its peak, touting the potential benefits it can have on the education system is a calculated finishing touch. The desire for more educational resources is not a partisan issue. Everyone supports it.
Can Jerry Jones Put Texas Sports Betting Over the Hump?
Look, let's be real. Jerry Jones will not be the reason Texas sports betting gets legalized in 2023.
But his support and the talking points he's prioritized surely can't hurt.
Whether his sentiments have an actual impact remains to be seen. We will need to see the details of the next Texas sports betting bill to determine if the state prioritizes tax revenue for education and denotes how much money the state already loses to off-shore sports betting.
For now, though, it sure seems like support of Texas sports betting is at an all-time high. And at this point, it feels likely the state will approve a ballot measure in time for the 2024 elections.
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