February 9, 2021 Sports Betting, Casino, Legal

Texas Lt. Gov says ‘We are nowhere close’ on legalized sports betting

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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cast doubts on the progress of sports betting legalization in the Lonestar State, telling a Lubbock radio host Tuesday “We are nowhere close to having the votes for it.”

Patrick sounded off on sports betting during in an interview with KFYO’s Chad Hasty. His comments come one day after five Texas professional sports teams announced the creation of a coalition in favor of bringing legalized sports betting to the state.

“We don't even have a bill that has been filed in the Senate on the issue,” Patrick said, according to quotes provided by the Austin-American Statesman. “When you don't even have a sponsor, it's not even a bill you spend much time on or think about. ...  I don't spend much time on it because the members are just against it.”

Though a pair of Senate bills to legalize sports betting have been filed, proponents of sports betting in upper chamber of the state legislature face a tough battle moving the issue forward.

Patrick, a staunch Republican, oversees the Texas Senate, which would have to vote two-thirds majority in favor of an amendment to overturn the state’s ban on gambling before sports betting could be legalized.

The Republicans hold an 18-13 advantage in the Senate and a two-thirds majority requires 21 votes, meaning at least eight GOP Senators plus the entire Democratic wing would have to go against Patrick’s wishes.

Patrick dismissed the notion that pressure from sports teams and operators like Las Vegas Sands Corp, which has deployed more than 50 gaming lobbyists to Austin, could persuade enough lawmakers to vote in favor of sports betting.

“There's so much infighting and competition amongst all the people in that (gaming) arena. That's why it never goes anywhere,” Patrick said. “And so it's not even an issue that's going to see the light of day this session.”

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