The House State Affairs Committee is taking public comment on Wednesday regarding legislation that would let voters decide whether to legalize sports betting in Texas. The usually controversial legislation has been long opposed by religious groups, but once again the item is back up for discussion.
The ultimate discussion at hand is to determine if the matter should be put to a statewide vote amending the state’s constitution this November.
Rep. Dan Huberty’s bill must be approved by two-thirds of the Texas House and Senate to allow Texas voters to weigh in directly. Under usual circumstances the bill might not have much traction, but with COVID-19, there might be a chance. If approved, the bill would be veto proof by Gov. Abbott.
If approved, the Huberty bill would not mean immediate impacts for the economy or for gamblers in Texas. The measure simply allows for the proposed constitutional change which would lay legal and regulatory patches to protect consumers who participate.
It’s far from clear what will happen with this measure, but the cards are stacked against it. Time is short for any legislation that hasn’t already cleared committees by now to win floor votes.
The success of the bill hinges on the fact that generating a sizable amount of revenue with little effort or expense on an activity that already is widely known to be occurring in the state, is viewed by many as a “no-brainer” for lawmakers who will likely be desperate for revenue in just a few years.