Texas Approaches 2023 With the Potential to Legalize Sports Betting

Texas Approaches 2023 With the Potential to Legalize Sports Betting

Texas sports betting is not there yet, but is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Legal sports betting in Texas is lagging behind most states in the US going into 2023. However, there is reason to feel optimistic about sports betting in Texas.

The majority of states have legal sports betting up and running. It feels crazy to think where the legal sports betting landscape was in just 2017. Delaware was the first state in the US to offer single-game sports betting to the public on June 5, 2018.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced in May of 2018 that states would be able to set their own sports betting laws. Since then, most states have been rushing through the process to get their sports betting platform up and running as fast as possible.

Texas sports betting has not been part of the fever pitch, though. They are taking their sweet time going through the motions. This is not because there have not been any attempts to legalize sports betting in the state.

Texas and California Have Something In Common

The list continues to grow shorter of states where sports betting isn’t legal in the US. Texas and California are the two biggest states in the country without legal sports betting.

California voters recently voted no to the sports betting bill known as Propositions 26 and 27. This does not mean that there will never be legalized sports betting in California, but voters overwhelmingly said no in November.

Prop 26 was a sports betting bill for retail in-person sports betting, while Prop 27 was for online sports betting. Neither came close to passing recently.

With sports betting off the table, for now, it could be a long time before there is legal sports betting in California. At least not until 2024. After a vote passes, the framework must still be implemented.

California and Texas are two untapped goldmines for private sports betting operators. California is the most populous state in the US, while Texas has the second biggest population in the country.

Sports Betting In Texas

There is currently no legal framework for Texas sports betting. They are in a similar position as California, but hope to beat The Golden State to the window.

Is it possible that 2023 will be the year for legal sports betting in Texas? We are quite confident that California will have nothing ratified for next year.

Over in Texas, though, this could be a big year for Texas sports betting if everything goes according to plan. Along with no legal online sports betting, there is an absence of retail sports betting permitted for gamblers to make in person at land-based operations.

Texas card rooms for poker are becoming more and more popular in the state. The authorities would shut these poker clubs down in the past, but are allowing them to operate in a gray area of the law as it goes under review.

When it comes to sports betting and casino gambling, the government in Texas is loosening up its stance, as well. They are well aware that sports betting revenue would be a big hit in Texas. However, it does not matter if the citizens of Texas do not vote YES on sports betting legalization.

Sports Betting Bill Must Be Approved

Let’s go over what has happened up to this point with sports betting in Texas. For every state in the country, the debate started back in 2018 when the Supreme Court amended the law to allow states to govern themselves.

This is not the first time that Texas has attempted to legalize sports betting. In 2021, a bill fell well short of going in front of state voters in Texas.

For this bill in 2022, the first step in Texas is getting 66% of lawmakers on board. Note that 2/3 of the state legislature has to approve the sports betting bill. If this does not happen, then voters will not have an opportunity to vote on the issue.


Known as TX SJR17, the bill was introduced on November 14, 2022, by Senator Carol Alvarado. If the bill passes, it will create the Texas Gaming Commission. Along with the development of the Texas Gaming Commission, the bill includes authorized sports betting.

The bill does not mention if this will feature online sports betting. The biggest beneficiaries, like Maine and Minnesota, are going to be the Native American casinos. Will there be an online element involving the indigenous tribes in Texas?

The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, Speaking Rock Casino, and Naskila Casino are the only casino establishments in Texas. These three casinos are expected to offer legal sports betting if sports betting goes live.

Along with these three properties, there is likely to be an expansion of casino gambling in the state. As part of the new gambling bill, licensees must commit to building a destination resort in Texas. If this measure passes, there are likely to be millions in new investments in sports betting and casino gambling in Texas.

Texas Sports Betting On The Ballot In November 2023?

The Texas legislative session opens on January 10, 2023, and will end in late May. During this time, state lawmakers should have an opportunity to vote on TX SJR17.

All that is required for the bill to advance is 66% voting in favor. Any less and the bill will die right there and then. However, there is a lot of optimism that this will pass without any qualms or debate.

Following this process, Texas sports betting will be on the ballot for voters in November of 2023. State voters in Texas will have an opportunity to have their voices heard at the polls then.

Will voters in Texas fall in line with California? If the vote is in favor of sports betting and diverts from California’s NO vote, then getting the framework in place and working with the Native American tribes will commence. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, must sign the bill into law, as well.

That sounds easy, but just ask North Dakota and Minnesota, it does not come all together sometimes. Whenever there is a pie with a lot of money, everyone wants their share. The Native American casinos will want their portion.

TX SJR17 To The Texas Sports Betting Cemetary With House Bill 2070?

This is not the first time that legal sports betting in Texas has been attempted. House Bill 2070 died in 2021 after a strong push for sports betting legalization in Texas. The goal of House Bill 2070 was to implement a sports betting licensing initiative in the state.

However, this never took off the ground and died before making it to the state House or Senate. According to state Rep. Dan Huberty, if passed, the bill would have created $180 million in tax revenue in the first year. In the following years, it was expected to produce revenue of $400 million.

The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas was not content with HB 2070. KTTT representative, Jennifer Hughes, noted that the bill was not good enough because it did not include language for gambling expansion for tribes.

The Native American tribes’ concerns are being listened to more closely this time. However, the provision that remits a portion of the gambling revenue to the state is likely to be a big sticking point.

The Future of Texas Sports Betting

What does the future of legal sports betting in Texas look like? We are optimistic that Texas sports betting will launch. This looks like a case of when it will happen and not if.

As far as the state lawmakers’ vote is concerned, it looks likely to pass without too much opposition. Expect news on the bill passing in the state legislature in the first quarter of 2022.

If this does not go through, then TX SJR17 will suffer the same fate as its sports betting predecessor, House Bill 2070. There is reason to believe that this time there is more traction for TX SJR17.

The biggest obstacle may not be the lawmakers or state voters, but instead the Native American tribes. As other states have come to find, they are not going to allow the government to push them around.

It will be interesting to see how nice Texas and the tribes play together at the table in 2023. Without a lot of money at stake, we expect a full resolution. A Texas sports betting launch date in 2023 is wishful thinking, with gamblers being able to place bets in 2024 more realistic.

Are you interested in Texas sports betting and waiting for legalization? Check out the best Texas betting sites that TheSportsGeek recommends betting at today.

About the Author
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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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