Nobody should need any more proof that sports betting in Texas stands to be a lucrative endeavor. But Louisiana is apparently providing some additional evidence anyway. And believe it or not, it's speaking volumes on a problem the state should have realized long ago: Texas sports betting revenue is being squandered by a refusal to change outdated policies.
Speaking with Legal Sports Report at the end of October, Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns said that "Texans make up a significant portion of visitors to casinos in the western part of Louisiana." This might not seem like a huge deal on the surface. Opponents of Texas sports betting would certainly have you believe there's nothing to see here.
But the fact of the matter is it's a massive deal. How could it not be? Texas sports betting revenue is actively headed to a neighboring state. The financial implications of this reality boggle the mind. And they might also end up impacting how the November 2022 elections play out.
How Louisiana is Tapping into Texas Sports Betting Revenue
Houston is one of Texas' premier cities and biggest sports markets. It home to the Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Astros (MLB) and Houston Rockets (NBA). Interest in sports betting throughout this specific market is high, and it has been for a while.
Well, it just so happens that Houston is just a few hours drive from the border of western Louisiana. And as you might already know, online sports betting in Louisiana is completely legal. The state opened up a handful of sportsbooks roughly a year ago, and business has been booming ever since.
Now it turns out a big chunk of that business is coming from the Lone Star State. Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns didn't put an exact figure on how much revenue his state generates from out-of-state gamblers, but any estimate is likely to be high. After all, Texas is one of the three most densely populated states in America. And Houston is, in turn, one of the two most densely populated cities in Texas.
Given these factors, it would not be at all surprising if Texans are actually spending millions of dollars per year on wagers placed in Louisiana alone. And we're only talking about Louisiana. This doesn't even take into account how many people from the western part of Texas might make the short drive to New Mexico, where sports betting is legal, and place wagers there.
Distrust these (ultra-rough) estimates if you want. But multiple experts have come out over the past 12 to 18 months and said that the illegal sports betting market in Texas is a billion-dollar industry. The numbers referenced here are only a small fraction of the pie. And that begs the question: Where's the rest being spent?
Online Texas Betting Revenue Could be the Through the Roof if the State Amended Their Policy
As we've reiterated in this space before, industry experts estimate that more than 75 percent of all sports bets placed in the United States are processed online. Many services have been transitioning to online-heavy transactions for years, but the global pandemic and economic shutdowns that came with it accelerated the shift. And you better believe online sports betting in Texas is taking place.
Do you really think a majority of the population is driving a couple of hours to New Mexico or Louisiana every week? Of course not. If they're looking to gamble at casinos for a weekend or simply place bets on futures, then sure, taking the trip makes sense. Like the rest of the country, though, most Texans participate in sports betting online.
Don't think for a second that's impossible. The state can refuse to legalize online sports betting, but only domestically. They have no jurisdiction over offshore sportsbooks who are willing to undertake the responsibility that goes into entering the international market. Many of the sites from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks will let Texans sign up for accounts right now. Heck, many of these sportsbooks are popular options among residents in states that have legal sports betting. Most of them have been around for longer, and many in general offer better sign-up bonuses relative to places like FanDuel, Caesars, DraftKings, etc.
This is all to say: Texas sports betting revenue is not an imaginary concept that exists only when the state gives the green light. It exists now. Truckloads of money are being bet online every single day of every single month. And if the gaming commission experts are to be believed, that also means the state is allowing billions (plural) in taxable income to walk out the door.
Texas Sports Betting Could Hinge on November Election Outcomes
Similar to many other states that don't yet have legal sports betting, Texas may see their fortunes change or implode during this November's elections. The race for governor, in particular, has featured a back-and-forth on sports betting policy. And both parties are so aware Texans want sports betting that they've at least indicated a preliminary openness to discussing the matter.
Still, many incumbent officials remain against Texas sports betting. They don't like the idea of amending the constitution or the potential for predatory advertising associated with it. That's why some in the government have tried proposing counter policies that would actually crackdown on offshore sports betting.
Whether these measures get taken will depend on who's still in office, at both the Senate and House of Representative levels, after the November 2022 elections.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one is best for all of your sports betting needs: