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Will Texas Legalize Gambling?

Will Texas Legalize Gambling?

Until 2018, the only state with the legal right to offer all gambling activities to state citizens was Nevada.

Sports betting, for instance, was forbidden by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 1992. The act was implemented to protect the integrity of professional sporting events.

However, despite betting and gambling laws in place across the US, statistics revealed gambling legislation did little to stop illegal gambling from occurring.

For instance, The American Gaming Association predicted 97% of Super Bowl bets were made illegally. And law enforcement institutions estimated more than $150 billion was being spent with unauthorized sports bookmakers.

The colossal amount of money given to unlicensed gambling operators and offshore iGaming companies., is one of many reasons why in recent years the PASPA has been abolished, and states are more open to permitting and regulating gambling activities.

The elimination of PASPA was primarily due to the effort of the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey fought for the act to be overturned. Because the state’s government saw legalizing sports betting as an opportunity to replace their dropped income from losing tourists in Atlantic City, to neighboring states who were creating their own casinos.

Their quest to abolish PASPA started in 2011, By 2018, New Jersey succeeded. The Supreme Court struck down the act, meaning any US state could permit sports betting.

The dismissal of PASPA and progressive thinking among numerous state government officials and citizens have changed many people’s attitudes towards gambling.

As a result, numerous states have since expanded their legal gambling activities to the public.

For example, Texas’s neighboring state Colorado permitted sports betting on May 1st, 2020. In turn, Colorado betting laws state residents may open sports betting accounts online and place wagers.

The tax revenue from sports betting in Colorado is used to fund water projects in the state.

Other benefits which have persuaded more states to expand their gambling activities are as follows:

  • Potential economic benefits for legalizing gambling in the US include more employment opportunities for citizens.
  • Much like the UK, states can instruct officials to regulate and govern gambling, to ensure placing wagers is fair and safe for players in the US. Also, limits on bets can prevent players from overspending.
  • Governments can also charge gambling companies wishing to operate in the vicinity registration and licensing fees. Fees can be used to fund the gambling regulatory body and programs to promote safe gambling.
  • Tax deductions from each licensed gambling operator’s profits will give state governors the means to improve areas in the vicinity that need it most. States will have money to invest in building and improving schools and colleges. Moreover, to create more affordable housing and upgrade transport links in the area.

Texas and Gambling

Texas, however, has remained firm on their gambling offering, with the state so far only allowing:

 

  • Charitable Bingo and raffles.
  • Pari-Mutuel wagering on horse racing.
  • The casino operated by native American tribes.
  • Game rooms containing ‘eight liners (similar to slot games).
  • Casino cruises, which take citizens out to international waters with no gambling laws, for customers to gamble freely.

Despite numerous bills proposed to expand Texas gambling laws, numerous political figures have rejected them.

However, Kuempel and democrat senator Carol Alvarado are confident there’s still hope for Texas gambling legislation to change in the future. With Alvarado informing the Dallas Morning News in recent months, “I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been.”

The bills Kuempal and Alvarado introduced would give the government and the people of Texas the chance to vote on whether to introduce gambling, such as sports betting.

The initial aim was first to permit sports betting, then eventually create casino resorts in major cities and allow Indian tribe casinos to expand the games on offer at their businesses.

However, state lawmakers missed the opportunity to introduce sports betting legislation by the deadline on May 31st this year. So, for now, the topic of legislating sports betting and so forth in Texas has been tabled until 2023.

Will Texas Legalize Gambling?

Changing Texas law to legalize activities such as sports betting is challenging because gambling in Texas is outlawed due to a constitutional provision, not a passed law.

Therefore, to legalize gambling, a referendum is required to change the Texas state constitutions.

As a result, beyond needing two-thirds of support from the house of representatives and senate, the bill would also need to enter a ballot for citizens to vote.

However, the difficulty of introducing legal sports betting in Texas does not mean it will never happen; it will likely just take a while to achieve.

After all, the support for sports betting legislation in Texas is growing. With prolific sports team managers, such as Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones and Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban on-side to legalize sports bets for all.

So perhaps Texas won’t have access to more legal gambling activities such as sports betting this year. For now, residents will need to venture to nearby states if they want to place legal sports wager.

But eventually, possibly by the end of the decade, sports gambling and more in Texas could be permitted.

As with New Jersey fighting to appeal PASPA, it took just under a decade for the Supreme Court to eliminate the act.

Suppose Texas senators continue making bills, proposals and explaining the benefits of legislating sports betting and casinos. Eventually, more senators and house representatives could be persuaded to back a bill to legalize sports wager in the future.

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