Texas Sports Betting Isn’t Expected to Progress in 2023

Davis Mills Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs
Davis Mills #10 of the Houston Texans warms up against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP

Per Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the expansion of gambling or the legalization of Texas sports betting won’t see any movement during the 2023 legislative session. 

However, a glimmer of hope can be taken from Patrick’s demeanor. While he did highlight a negative aspect for Texas gambling enthusiasts, he wasn’t as dismissive regarding the thought of TX sports betting as he has in the past. 

“I haven’t had anyone mention it to me that they are interested in doing anything,” Patrick said on KXAN, an Austin-based TV station. “A lot of talk out there, but I don’t see any movement on it.”  

The Governor’s Stance on Sports Betting

Recent reports have suggested that Patrick could make a U-turn and accept a sports betting bill. However, an industry insider reported that Patrick needs to clarify his position in 2023.

“Otherwise, you’re going to have a legislature that is not interested in pursuing something that the Lieutenant Governor doesn’t bless,” the insider commented. “I think more work needs to be done to get a firm commitment.”  

Patrick refused to support the expansion of gambling in Texas during the 2021 session, while Governor Gren Abbott hasn’t been far behind this dismissal. With that said, Abbott did express how he’d be open to gaming proposals during an interview in October.

Abbott and Patrick were recently re-elected, which could be the reason behind their more open-minded approach to the situation.

The SBA Will Work Hard for Texas Sports Betting

The Sports Betting Alliance (SBA), a mixed group lobbying to push the legalization and regulate online sports wagering in Texas, are representatives of sportsbooks and professional sports in Texas who’re in favor. The group recently acquired the services of former Governor Rick Perry, who will act as a spokesperson.

“I think Texas is the next frontier,” SBA lobbyist Bill Pascrell commented. “And I know what the lieutenant governor has said. But I also know the lieutenant governor is a very smart guy, and Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, Tilman Fertitta, and other owners not so well-known are working feverishly with the lieutenant governor. And with Gov. Abbott – their session is coming up soon – I think that’s the next frontier.”

Billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, wants to build a casino near the American Airlines Center in light of the state making another attempt at bringing legalized sports betting to Lone Star State.

“I haven’t worked feverishly,” Cuban commented. “But there are organizations that are, for sure.”

Where Will Texas Sports Betting Go from Here?

The 2023 legislative session in Texas began on January 10, 2023.

Any legislation regarding gaming or sports betting would alter the state’s constitution. Because of this, it would need two-thirds votes in chambers of the legislature and a winning vote from the simple majority votes at the polls in November.  

“Our next steps will be the bill filing itself and announcing exactly the language, as well as the author,” Cara Gustafson said, an SBA spokeswoman. “And due to how the legislature works, we likely won’t announce that – or even be at that stage – until late January, early February.”