The future of legal sports betting in Texas remains in doubt, but through all the uncertainty, we know one thing for sure: The Texas Sports Betting Alliance won't let the issue wither away and die without a fight.
Though The Lone Star State has so far resisted all attempts to approve online sports betting and in-person wagering at one of their tribal-operated casinos, the topic itself remains at the forefront of political debates. Indeed, many experts believe legal sports betting could swing the 2022 November elections.
Of course, electing officials who support legalizing sports betting throughout Texas, such as Beto O'Rourke, would be only part of the battle. The Lone Star State requires constitutional amendments of this magnitude to be voted on by residents, and the soonest that can happen is likely in 2024. But before Texans can even vote on legal sports betting, one of the many proposed initiatives must first pass through the House of Representatives and State Senate and make it onto a major ballot.
That's where the Texas Sports Betting Alliance comes in—or so they believe.
Texas Sports Betting Alliance Trying to Instill Urgency Throughout Local Government
Since the most recent Texas sports betting proposal failed to get passed the House of Representatives or Senate, it is unlikely to be addressed again until the next legislature session. The Lone Star State holds those in only odd numbered years, which means they won't meet again until the latter part of 2023.
Unfortunately, however, the timeline for actually legalizing sports betting in Texas is much longer than that. Like most other states, any amendment to the state's constitution must be voted upon by the residents of Texas. And because there is no sports betting bill on the 2022 ballot, the soonest any initiative can be voted upon will be in 2024. From there, Texas must go about setting up their sports betting infrastructure, a process that can be time-consuming—especially when it comes to reviewing license applications and then actually issuing said licenses.
Given how long it has taken states such as New York, Ohio and even New Jersey to roll out their own forms of legal sports betting, Texas will need roughly a year to get their own operations up and running. That, in turn, suggests Texas sports betting cannot realistically take effect until 2025—or late 2024, around the start of the NFL season, at the absolute earliest.
The logistics of legalizing sports betting throughout Texas is necessary context. It is time-consuming, which means every time a bid to pass gambling protocols falls by the wayside, it ends up delaying the sports betting window by multiple issues. The Texas Betting Alliance understands this, which is why they have reportedly upped their efforts to communicate the benefits of legal sports betting, according to the Dallas Morning News.
This attempt will no doubt be met with a bunch of skepticism. The U.S. gave each individual state control over sports betting laws all the way back in 2018. What exactly can the Texas Sports Betting Alliance communicate to the state that it doesn't already know relative to the last half-decade?
Tax Revenue Projections for Online Sports Betting in Texas Have Increased
Offering rosy tax-revenue projections has long been the key to swaying states on the topic of legal sports betting. But the holdout from Texas is unique in that even the most lucrative evaluations have failed to resonate with them.
Just this past May, in fact, expert forecasts showed that sports betting in Texas should be worth more per year than sports betting in New York. And considering that New York is slated to assess taxes on billions of dollars in sports bets during the first year of legalization, you'd think that would have Texas singing a different tune. But it didn't.
Even so, the Texas Sports Betting Alliance is apparently banking on their new information getting the job done. As it stands, they believe projections actually underestimate the value of sports betting to Texas. Industry officials have pointed out that Texas has roughly seven or more professional sports franchises that are worth at least $1 billion across the NFL (Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys), NBA (Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs) and MLB (Texas Rangers and Houston Astros). That amounts to waaay more billion-dollar franchises than any other state outside New York or California, and when you're home to such lucrative franchises, the fanbases are large enough to prop up monster sports betting returns.
To wit: Entering the month of September, New York has collected nearly $350 million in sports betting tax revenue for the year 2022. Some experts believe Texas stands to roughly double their returns, which would mean more than a half-billion dollars in additional state revenue on an annual basis.
Can Texas Sports Betting Alliance Get Through to the State?
Optimists inside the Texas Sports Betting Alliance are confident their latest push will stick with the state's various governing bodies. Many of them even argue this updated projection could sell Texas short.
Billions of dollars in out-of-state bets are placed by Texans each here. Whether residents are driving across state lines or using a website from our reviews of the top online sportsbooks, the business of betting among Texans is booming—legalization or not.
It stands to reason the state will inevitably soften their hard-line stance. After all, we're talking about somewhere between $600 million and $750 million in additional revenue each year. Texas can only turn down so much money for so long.
That's why we fully expect the Texas Sports Betting Alliance's latest push to stick, and for its effectiveness to be reflected in what happens during the 2023 legislature sessions.
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