Texas Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Legalize Sports Betting

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Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Devin Richardson.

It's preliminary, but a Texas lawmaker has proposed a constitutional amendment that would legalize sports betting in the state.

State Sen. Carol Alvarado (D) pre-filed the proposed legislation on Tuesday. The bill would need two-thirds support by the state legislature and approval by the majority of voters in an election to be instituted.

Alvarado has attempted this route to legalize regular casino gambling every year since 2009. Casino gambling is illegal in Texas outside of Native American reservations.

The state senator — who represents southeast Houston and parts of Pasadena — is also one of the largest recipients of casino lobbying dollars in the state.

The preliminary bill does not state where exactly tax revenue from sports betting would be allocated. Some states have prioritized education and housing relief with the influx of profits. New York, for instance, sends money to beef up statewide educational initiatives and to provide property tax relief for citizens.

Other states earmark the funds for underprivileged communities. Still others target public utilities and infrastructure.

A total of 33 states have launched sports betting in some form. 18 states have launched online sports betting, with two more on the way, including Maryland this month. (Click here for a full primer about which state is in what stage of the legalization process.)

Ohio is set to launch online sports betting on Jan. 1.

Texas has tried to institute sports betting in the recent past. In 2021, State Rep. Dan Huberty (R) sponsored two bills that would have legalized the practice in the Lone Star State.

The legislative session ended without a vote on either bill. The proposed legislation would have taxed operators 10% on all profits. Experts estimated roughly $180 million in profits during the first year of operations, with increased gains in subsequent years. The increased capital would have been reallocated to the state's elementary and high schools.

For reference, New York crossed $1 billion in revenue from sports betting taxes earlier this month.

Texas' upcoming legislative session is due to begin on Jan. 10.

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