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Betting.net / Texas representatives debate on gambling legalization, sports betting

Texas representatives debate on gambling legalization, sports betting

Publish Date: March 26, 2023
Fact checked by: Jesse M Cox
Stock Photo, tags: texas representatives gambling sports - images.unsplash.com

Stock Photo – images.unsplash.com

Texas representatives argued over two new bills on Wednesday that could finally permit casino gambling and sports betting in the state.

Rep. Jeff Leach authored House Bill 1942, which proposed the legalization of sportsbooks and betting, following the same regulations used by 29 other states. In addition, Rep. John Kuempel introduced House Bill 2843, which aimed to permit casino gambling within the state.

As a conservative state, Texas has always had a troubled relationship with gambling legislation.

While proponents have pointed to the numerous tax benefits Texas could gain by legalizing casinos and sports betting, critics see gambling as contrary to the state’s family values.

However, Leach told the House State Affairs Committee that illegal gambling is already pervasive in the state. Modern technology has allowed people to access gambling sites and apps, often risking their earnings without regulatory protection.

“There are hundreds of our constituents, citizens of all ages, including minors, who right now, especially with March Madness, are placing unsafe, insecure, illegal, criminal bets very easily,” Leach said.

While still prohibiting youths from participating in gambling, Leach’s laws will enact various protections to keep bettors safe.

He also described how vulnerable bettors are to scams and security risks and that offering regulated alternatives would benefit the public in the long run.

Debate on regulating gambling in Texas

Prior to the introduction of the two bills, Texas permitted some limited forms of gambling, including bingo, greyhound or horse racing and lotteries.

The state has consistently rejected efforts to legalize casino or sports betting in the past, despite encouragement from numerous operators and gaming interests.

Therefore, the Las Vegas Sands casino and resort organization made a forceful effort by enlisting 69 lobbyists to back gambling bills in the state.

The Sports Betting Alliance has also played a hand in nudging sports betting laws, with Republican Rick Perry being one of its most prominent mouthpieces.

Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan and Governor Greg Abbott have also shown openness to expanding gambling laws.

Yet, there are still many who strongly oppose the idea of casino gambling or sports betting in Texas, including Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

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