Texas has been a tough nut to crack when it comes to the legalization of sports betting and casino operations. The gambling industry has not found fertile ground in the Lone Star State. There are no casinos in the state aside from a few Native American operations on reservation land. Online gambling remains a distant dream for those legislators hoping to make a change.
Looking beyond state lines
Not everything is bigger in Texas, especially when it comes to gambling. States that have legalized gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos and online see significant revenue growth due to taxes charged on such operations. While Nevada is well-known for its gambling facilities, other states are emerging as destinations for would-be gamblers and bettors.
Pennsylvania online sports betting has been a resounding success, coming shortly before the coronavirus pandemic that changed just about every facet of everyday life. While sports events were postponed or canceled, some continued, and there was a surge in online bettors looking for some action while remaining safely at home. The state’s outstanding reputation for its gambling establishments, both traditional and online, is thanks to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), which maintains a high degree of vigilance over casino operators to ensure regulatory compliance.
An introspective look
Texans in the mood for gambling are flocking beyond state lines to neighboring states with friendlier laws. These states have reaped the reward of this trend by relieving Texans of their hard-earned money for gambling, accommodation, and entertainment. Bumble stocks have risen on the back of these trips and the social engagement they generate.
Everyone in Texas would benefit if that money were spent in-state as it would lead to job creation and fuller state coffers due to tax payments from casino operators. Texas’s current budget deficit and rising unemployment levels make the argument for the expansion of gambling legislation a logical move.
What do Texans want?
A recent survey indicated that more than half of Texans want to see expanded gambling legislation in the Lone Star State. Lobbyists from huge gambling and casino conglomerates continue to put the case for new Texas gambling laws to state legislators.
So far, two bills have been introduced for consideration, both by Democrats. The first would promote brick-and-mortar casinos along the state’s coastline as the revenue generated through taxes would help recover after annual storms batter these shores. The second aims to permit mobile betting state-wide, and operators would pay a 6.25% tax rate on each transaction.
Whether these bills or others like them will succeed in our new world post-pandemic remains to be seen. It might take longer in a notoriously Republican state than it will in places like California and New York State.