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Texas Takes Major Step Towards Legalizing Sports Betting

Texas Takes Major Step Towards Legalizing Sports Betting

Texas took a giant stride towards legalizing sports betting when the House approved a constitutional amendment on Thursday.

It would allow voters in the Lone Star State to decide whether online sports wagering should be legalized when they head to the ballot boxes.

Rep. Jeff Leach’s resolution, HJR 102, passed on a 101-43 vote, which was enough for a supermajority in the House. Companion bill HB 1942 passed on an 82-51 vote.

The bills will now head to the Senate to see if they can gain approval. If so, they will go to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, giving him the chance to sign it into law or perhaps veto it.

The legislation still faces an uphill struggle, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick – a staunch opponent of sports betting – said the Senate has “zero support” for both legislative proposals. 

“Our members have been clear: they’re not in support today. We don’t have any votes in the Senate,” Patrick told The Mark Davis Show last month. “Couldn’t find one Senator who supported it.

“Unless I have 15 to 16 Republicans, meaning it’s a Republican-driven bill because we’re a Republican-driven state, I’m not bringing a bill to the floor. I need Republican consensus otherwise, it’s a Democrat bill.”

Leach argues that Texans are already betting at “unsafe, unsecure, illegal” sportsbooks based offshore, and that it would be better to introduce a local, regulated market that the state can oversee and tax.

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