- Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick opposes legalization of sports betting
- Patrick says the industry wouldn’t generate enough revenue to be worthwhile for the state
- Cowboys, Mavs, Rangers formed the Texas Sports Betting Alliance earlier this week in support of legalized sports betting
Earlier this week, a trio of pro sports teams in Texas joined forces in support of legalized sports betting. The Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, and Dallas Cowboys teamed up to form the Texas Sports Betting Alliance in an attempt to drum up support of the legalization of sports betting in the state.
While those in favor of the idea tout the massive new revenue stream legal betting would bring to the state, the measure still faces an uphill climb in what has been one of the most conservative states in the US for decades. The measure is expected to receive no shortage of opposition. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is among those that is staunchly opposed to the idea of opening a sports betting industry in the Lone Star State.
In an interview with a Lubbock radio show earlier this week, Patrick said, “It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session. There may be a bill filed, but I doubt it.”
State Representative Joe Deshotel and Senator Roland Gutierrez are among the lawmakers that have already filed bills in an attempt to allow for casinos to begin operating in Texas. Senator Royce West touted the idea as a legitimate option for the state in the future.
Patrick Cites Lack of Revenue Potential
Patrick added that while there is plenty of loud support of sports betting legislation, the calls for legalization are hardly new. Patrick, a Republican, said, “Every year they come and they lobby to pass a bill on something, and every year I tell them the same thing…don’t talk about revenues, because the sports gaming, for example, that teams are trying to push this session…that generates, by their numbers, $150 million a year. That’s a lot of money, but it pays for about half a day of our year.”
Patrick went on to say, “Casinos say they’ll generate about $700 million in tax dollars, a lot of money, but it’s equivalent to about three days out of 365 days a year of our total budget.” Patrick added that he has “never been in favor” of legalized sports betting.
Patrick presides over the Texas Senate, where Republicans currently hold an 18-13 majority. Patrick said that he believes there is no way the bill will find the minimum of 21 votes needed to send a constitutional amendment to the state’s voters. Patrick believes that the vast majority of Republicans in the Texas Senate are against the idea.
Sports Betting Does Have Some GOP Support
However, not all members of the Texas Republican Party are anti-sports betting. GOP Rep. Dan Hagerty has already proposed a sports betting legislation bill that would allow bettors to receive 90 percent of their winnings, while the state would receive 10 percent of the cut. Rep. Huberty said earlier this week that the measure “could generate several hundred million dollars” if it were to pass.
Every year, thousands of Texans travel to neighboring states like Louisiana and Oklahoma where casino gambling is legal. The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this week that Texans wager an estimated $2.5 billion every single year on out-of-state casinos and sportsbooks. Texas is the second-biggest state in the US in terms of population, with over 27 million residents. Only California (37.6 million) has a larger population.