Several states are looking to legalize sports betting in 2021, but none bigger than the state of Texas. Texas has the potential to become one of the biggest sports betting markets in the United States, and it appears that legalization in 2021 is now a real possibility.
California, Texas, and Florida are the three most populous states in the country, and all three are currently without sports betting. There is a race to see which state can launch sports betting first, and Texas is taking some early steps to make them the leader.
Benefits for Texas
One of the biggest reasons for launching sports betting in Texas is to create more jobs for the state. These jobs would manifest in the construction of new sportsbooks, and the workers needed to man sports betting operations.
Increasing tax revenue would be another benefit of making the industry legal, especially as the state is trying to deal with the financial struggles felt during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been an argument used in other states in the past, and lawmakers in Texas believe it could work for them as well.
Arkansas already offers some form of sports betting, and Oklahoma is looking to amend gaming compacts with tribal nations to do the same. That could put even more pressure on Texas to get something passed to avoid losing out on all that revenue as residents travel to other countries to make bets.
In 2019, a sports betting bill was brought to the table, but that piece of legislation did not make it far before it stalled out. Since the legislature only meets in odd-numbered years, 2021 will be the next chance for progress to be made.
Texas is a state that is home to many professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans. A majority of these teams are expected to help push legalizing sports betting, similar to what was done in other states.
Casino Gaming Must Come First
The first major push in Texas will come in the form of attempting to legalize casino gambling. Currently, there are no commercial casino properties in the state, but that could change if one casino executive can get his wish.
Sheldon Adelson is the man responsible for leading the charge to legalize casino gambling in the state as he is a major player in the Las Vegas casino industry. Adelson is a major supporter of the Republican party in Texas, and he has already announced that he is willing to bring his properties to the state.
Even though Adelson will not have any real say in what takes place in the state legislature, he will be increasing his lobbying efforts in 2021. Adelson already has plenty of support from some lawmakers, but making the change in Texas has not happened yet.
Launching casino gambling should open the doors for sports betting, and it will give the state some retail sports betting locations.