Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has basically shut down any hope of sports betting legislation being approved this session. Patrick spoke with a local radio show this week, stating that the option was not going to see the light of day during this current legislative session. The Lt. Governor continues to put a negative spin on the option and says he had never been in favor of legalization. Not Going to Happen In speaking with KFYO, Patrick pointed out he has never been in favor of sports betting in Texas, and every year, he seems the same effort to push for legalization. He says each year, proponents say that $150 million in revenues could be produced from the industry, and while that is a lot of money, it is only half a day of the yearly budget. Patrick says that people were fooled years ago when lottery legislation was being considered, as it was touted as a way to pay for education. However, it pays for a ‘couple of days of education,’ according to Patrick. The Lt. Governor says any pitch involving sports betting or casinos in Texas needs to discuss the jobs and tourism the industries can create. Not Enough Support Currently, there is not enough support in the legislature to see any sports betting measure move forward. According to the Lt. Governor, the Senate does not have enough votes to amend the constitution to allow sports betting, which is what must happen to move forward with the option. In the Senate, there is an 18-13 republican majority. A total of 21 votes would be needed to allow a constitutional amendment to be considered by voters. The Lt. Governor also pointed out that there are stakeholder issues that are also standing in the way of legislation passing into law. Stakeholders cannot seem to get on the same page when it comes to sports betting. Pro sports teams in the state are in support of a bill that would make the team’s license holders. Then you also have casino interests wanting to be licensed along with opposition from tribes in Oklahoma and religious groups. For right now, there is legislation on the table regarding sports betting. In January, Representative Harold Dutton filed a measure, though it has not made any movement yet. This week, Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a measure to amend the constitution to allow casino gaming and this measure does have support, including from the Las Vegas Sands. While there is gambling legislation up for consideration, it seems there may not be enough support to move things along like many would hope possible.
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