Sunday, September 24 2023

Residents in Texas are asking a question. 

When will sports betting be legalized? 

According to a recent major university poll, 75 percent of respondents voted in favor of Texas sports wagering.

But their public support currently leaves their question unanswered.

HB 1942 Sputters In State Senate

While House Bill 1942 passed the Texas House of Representatives on April 3, there has been little forward momentum in the state Senate over the past week. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said sports betting advocates do not “have the votes,” according to a Texas Sports Life tweet.

Among the stumbling blocks facing HB 1942 include:

  • A proposed 10 percent tax rate.
  • A $500,000 state licensing fee.
  • Critical opposition by the Kickapoo Tribe.

The state legislative session ceases on May 29.

Is there still time?

It depends on if the lawmakers listen to the public.

A survey from the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs discovered overwhelming support for legalized betting in the Lone Star State.

Among the in-state residents who were contacted, the poll attempted to reach across demographic and partisan lines. It also reached out to individuals to consider themselves born-again Christians, according to a University of Houston press release.

University of Houston Poll Favors Legalized State Betting

The released data indicated three of four Texas residents favored responsible sports wagering. It also suggested 41 percent strongly supported the current legislation that passed the state House, but remains a stagnant issue in the state Senate. 

“Texas has historically had strict laws regulating most forms of gaming, even as neighboring states have expanded opportunities for casino gambling,” Hobby School Senior Executive Director and Researcher Renee Cross said. “Opponents have historically had powerful allies in the Legislature, but we found the public appears ready to back major changes in how Texas regulates gambling.” 

Attitudes appear to be changing. Only 13 percent of those polled were in opposition to the bill becoming law. Among the born-again Christians, a group that had long fought against similar legislation, there was a heavy shift in opinion, with 69 percent now in support. 

“It’s not just that a majority of Texans support expanded gambling,” Hobby School Senior Research Fellow Mark P. Jones said. “We found a majority of people in urban, suburban and rural areas support it, and that cuts across racial, ethnic, partisan, religious, and generational lines.”

But right now, that reach does not extend to both isles of the state Senate.

Source: Basketball Insider


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