AUSTIN (KXAN) — The discussion around legalized gambling and sports betting in Texas is back for another legislative session.
As the state starts eying the costs associated with last week’s winter weather — there’s new attention on legalized gambling. On Tuesday, State Representative Dan Huberty and State Senator Juan Hinojosa filed legislation around sports betting.
House Bill 2070 and Senate Bill 736 are focused on regulating the sports betting industry in the state with permits, fee and taxes while also decriminalizing wagering on sports events.
Supporters say legalizing and taxing sports betting could boost the Texas budget by close to $400 million. Texas voters would decide in November whether to amend the state’s constitution to make betting legal — if the bills pass.
The Supreme Court removed the ban on sports betting over two years ago. There are 21 states around the country that allow or will soon allow some form of legalized sports betting.
The idea of legalized sports betting will face staunch opposition. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been vocal against the idea.
“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session,” Patrick said in a radio interview with the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO in Lubbock two weeks ago.
Patrick told the radio show that sports gambling support at the start of session from lobbyists or from professional sports franchises isn’t new. Patrick maintains that the amount of tax revenue gambling could generate in the state doesn’t add up to much of a solution for the deficit.