After successfully passing a third reading, the Texas House of Representatives has approved the measures aimed at legalizing sports betting in Texas. House Joint Resolution 102 and Representative Jeff Leach’s House Bill 1942 will now proceed to the Senate for further consideration.
During Thursday’s vote, HJR 102 garnered 101 votes out of a potential 143, while its enabling legislation, HB 1942, was approved by a vote of 82-51. Nonetheless, their future in the Senate remains uncertain. If they are given the green light by a two-thirds majority, the legislation would necessitate a statewide public vote on November 7. The purpose of this vote would be to amend the Texas Constitution, which presently restricts most forms of gambling.
If authorized, the proposed legislation will enable the legalization of online sports betting in Texas, specifically through professional sports teams in the state. Online sports betting licenses would be made available to WNBA, MLS, MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL franchises.
Under Representative Leach’s bill, the tax rate for online sports betting would be set at 10 percent of the adjusted gross sports betting revenue, and each license would carry a price tag of $500,000. The Texas Sports Betting Alliance, a coalition consisting of professional sports franchises, sports leagues, race tracks, and sports betting platforms, is in favor of this bill.
During their second reading, the legislation presented by Representative Charlie Geren, HJR 155, and its enabling legislation by Representative John Kuempel, HB 2843, received 92 votes in favor and 55 votes against. To advance to the Senate, an additional eight votes in favor are required.
Geren’s proposal aims to permit gaming companies to apply for licenses to construct seven high-end “destination resorts” in Texas. These resorts would be situated in two locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, two in the Houston area, and one each in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and McAllen. The legislation would authorize casino gaming and sports wagering within these resorts, with a Texas Gaming Commission established to regulate these activities.
The bill would also introduce a 15 percent tax on the gross casino gaming revenue generated by each casino license holder.