The Dallas Morning News reports that five pro teams, the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, FC Dallas, the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars, have formed the Sports Betting Alliance. The coalition also includes betting platforms.
For Texas to allow sports betting, the state would have to amend its constitutional ban on gambling via a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, then pass a separate bill that would lay out regulations of sports betting.
Texas faces an uphill battle for overturning its gambling ban as Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have both openly opposed gambling expansion in the past.
However, state legislators may be more susceptible to hearing arguments from Texas business leaders including Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who are two of the most outspoken owners in American sports.
“Unregulated and illegal sports gambling is already taking place in the State of Texas,” Charlotte Jones, the Dallas Cowboys’ Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, told the newspaper. “Legalized sports betting would regulate the industry and generate hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue for the state which will help fund critical programs without raising taxes.”
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. is also pushing hard for gambling expansion in Texas, specifically as it pertains to legalization of casinos. The company is employing no fewer than 50 lobbyists in the state to rally support for gambling bills.
One of the key arguments of pro-gambling advocates is that Texas is losing a fortune to neighboring states who already allow casinos and sports betting.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Texans spend at least $2.5bn on out-state-casinos.
“I think it’s time,” Cuban, the Mavericks owner, told the paper. “It makes no sense for us to force Texans to go to neighboring states to gamble in casinos.”