Legal

Texas lawmaker introduces sports betting legislation

Jake Patel
Posted on February 4, 2019

Lawmakers in Texas have introduced a bill that would authorize sports betting in the state.

The bill, H 1275, was filed by representative Eduardo Lucio III and if successful will permit online and mobile sports betting.

The bill would require a referendum to take place in November in order to amend the state constitution.

Lucio also introduced House Joint Resolution 61, which would amend the constitution so that “the legislature by law may authorize and regulate the placing of wagers on professional and collegiate sports.”

The resolution must receive at least two-thirds of the votes in both the House and Senate before it can be voted on by the public,

If the bill makes it past the two votes, it will take effect on 1 January 2020.

The bill states that there will be five sports betting permits on offer with each permit costing $250,000. Permit holders will be able to offer sports betting under two brands.

On the taxation front, the bill imposes a tax rate of 6.25% on sports betting handle. The decision to tax handle could make it difficult to operate sports betting in the state as a tax on handle is likely to exceed sports betting revenue.

The bill also contains provisions to account for the Department of Justice’s new take on the Wire Act. H 1275 discusses the “intermediate routing of electronic data.”

The bill states: “Sports betting offered to a sports bettor in this state must be initiated and received within this state unless otherwise authorized by federal law.”

If the bill is successful Texans will be able to place bets on professional and collegiate sports with the exception of games held in Texas and games featuring Texas college teams.

The neighboring state of New Mexico is the only state in the region that offers sports betting.

In New Mexico, legal and regulated sports betting is offered under the tribal gaming laws. The only venue in New Mexico that accepts sports bets is the Santa Ana Star Casino near Albuquerque.

According to figures from Eilers and Krejcik gaming forecast, the Texas sports betting market has the potential to be the second largest sports betting market in the US.