Texas lawmakers successfully passed HJR 102 in the House of Representatives. The measure enables HB 1942 and would regulate online sportsbooks in the Lone Star State. HJR 102 passed to a 101-42 vote and would amend the Texas Constitution. This would require a statewide vote in order to become law.
Texas Sportsbooks Incoming?
This is the first time a sports betting measure has advanced out of either chamber in the Texas legislature. The bill now heads to the Senate, which is where the efforts likely come to an end. It is believed that there is still little support for sports betting in the Texas Senate.
During the third and final reading, bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Leach focused his argument on illegal betting. An estimated 1 million residents wager at unregulated sportsbooks. Leach wants residents to be able to vote and decide on their own the fate of sports betting.
“This bill makes our unsafe and illegal market legal and safe,” said Leach. “It regulates it. It makes it safer.”
The measure would tax sportsbooks 15% and revenue from sports betting would be primarily used for property tax relief. Operator licenses would be available to all local Texas teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Texans, and many more.
Operators would need to partner with a local team in order to gain market access in Texas. If the measure passes, it would be added to the November 2023 ballot for a vote. Residents would have to vote 51% in favor in order to pass the bill into law.
The Future Of Texas Sports Betting
Even with the measure having little chance to pass in the Senate, its advancement out of the House is still a good sign. Lawmakers can present the measure again in 2024 and have more time to convince Senate members of the benefits. Sports betting has failed to pass in Texas for years. This is the closest any measure has come to being a success.
Lawmakers now have a blueprint to build off of with this measure. Locals should look forward to the future of sports betting in the Lone Star State. Texas may be just a few years away from sports betting ultimately becoming a reality.