Sports betting in Texas? Multiple sports teams, organizations pushing to legalize sports betting in Lone Star State

HOUSTON – When it comes to sports betting, Texas is a state like no other.

“Don’t mess with Texas,” says Las Vegan Ken Fuchs.

Fuchs is the Chief Operating Officer with Caesars Sportsbook and in an Interview with KPRC 2 Investigates, he made it clear the state is a giant when it comes to the potential of sports betting, “If it did legalize at some point it would be a very material addition to our business,” said Fuchs.

There are not a handful of states that can compare--New York, California, Nevada, and Illinois--in terms of potential wager totals and revenue created from an industry that has been looking for years to establish a foundation in Texas, however, unlike previous campaigns to legalize sports betting in Texas, as this time.

“All eyes nationally are on Texas,” said Cara Gustafson with the Texas Sports Betting Alliance.

The reason?

The push by a coalition of major professional teams and organizations that formed the alliance in early 2021. All coming together to get sports betting legalized in the Lone Star State through the primary platform of mobile betting.

“We’ve been having great ongoing conversations in both chambers on both sides of the aisle. Again, really educating them on what the illegal market is happening here in Texas,” said Gustafson during a recent interview on the doorstep of the Texas Capitol.

Sports betting is expected to be carefully evaluated in the 2023 Legislature beginning in January. However, the alliance and others KPRC 2 have spoken with for this report believe there is much momentum to make its way through the legislature. If the legislature approves, it then will be passed onto Texans for them to decide, “At the end of the day, that is what is most important. This has to be approved by Texas voters,” said Gustafson.

But what does the one Houstonian who knows more about sports betting than anyone else have to say?

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale not only knows the alliance but also their push for sports gaming in Texas. Mack confirmed to KPRC 2 Investigates he wrote an Op-Ed last year to assist in the measure. However, as he now sits on potentially cashing out the biggest wagers total in sports history, he is not so certain if the odds are in the favor of sports gaming coming to Texas potentially as early as next year,

“Given what I know about who the players are in Texas. I don’t see it happening during my lifetime in the next thirty years. Then again I’ve been wrong many times,” said McIngvale.

There is an old saying in Las Vegas, “the house always wins.” Ironic, because for the gaming industry and its partners to come out victorious they’ll have to defeat the state house next winter and spring.

According to one independent financial report from a firm in California examining the potential sports gaming numbers in Texas, the industry is expected to immediately generate $278 million dollars in tax revenue while also creating approximately 2,000 jobs.

What do you think about this push? Tell us in the comments below.

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