There has been a strong push during the last few months to get Texas to open up to expanded gambling. The Lonestar state currently has three tribal casinos, pari-mutuel wagering and a traditional lottery running.
The late chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Sheldon Adelson had put together a strong group of lobbyists to push for land based casino gambling legalization in Texas. Adelson passed away in Jan 2021 and it is not clear if Sands Corp. will continue to push hard to get land based gambling legalized.
There was also a push to get sports betting legalized in Texas. Given the fact that Texas suffered significantly financial losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, there are some legislators who believe that Texas and other states can recoup some of its financial losses by legalizing sports betting in 2021.
Most of the neighbouring states in Texas offer some form of gambling and some legislators want Texas to be more towards gambling and not lose out on the millions of dollars that is going out of state. If sports betting is legalized, it could create one of the biggest sports betting markets in the country.
Sports Betting Will Not Happen Under His Watch
Texas has always been opposed to gambling and it appears that the top brass continue to hold that view. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick minced no words and said that sports betting legalization will not see the light of day under his watch.
Patrick dismissed any discussions of sports betting legalization saying that “no bill has been filed in the Senate, there is no sponsor for any sports betting bill and even if a bill did get introduced, it would not get the votes it required to be passed“. Similar to what happened in 2019 when Texas had a promising bill known as H 1275.
Patrick also made it clear that he is opposed to sports betting legalization and would not pay much attention to it as he does not see it happening. However, the Lt. Governor did not get all of his facts correct.
Two senate bills have already been filed that push for the legalization of 12 land based casinos that would have the right to offer sports betting. SJR 36 and SB 616 are the two bills that have been filed. A House Bill (HB 1121) was also filed in January 2021, pushing for mobile sports betting on all sports with the exception of collegiate sports betting.