exas lawmakers will hear House Bill 2070 Wednesday, which would let residents decide on legalizing sports betting in the state.
Filed by Republican Rep. Dan Huberty of Harris County, HB 2070 lays the groundwork for regulating sports betting in Texas. If approved by the legislature, the issue would be put to voters on the November ballot.
“It's in the best interest for Texas to implement a strict regulatory policy about this. It's already happening. People acknowledge it's already happening. And so we want to make sure that it's transparent, is trustworthy, that's got integrity to it, and it will generate additional funding for the state of Texas,” Huberty said, as reported by KVUE.
The bill would allow for Texas professional sports operators to act as sportsbooks in the state. However, language in the bill only allows for sportsbook to offer “its sports wagering platform to the public under one brand.” This likely means second skins will not be available.
According to the Sports Betting Alliance, there's an estimated $5 billion of illegal bets placed in Texas each year. “It's creating the mechanism for us to be able to have a stream of revenue that's coming in off a stream of revenue that's going out already that would definitely benefit the education in the State of Texas,” Huberty said. “We're not taking the revenue off of the patron, but we are taking it off of the operators that are going to be providing this. And we think that, you know, right now, if we don't do it, we're missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars that we could generate.”
Huberty said the revenue could go toward education, public health or property tax reform. And since Texas has one of the largest sports markets in the country, he said that could put the state in position to be one of the biggest sports betting markets in the US. If sports betting is approved it could bring in more than $180 million in new revenue over the next two-year budget cycle, Hubery has said, and could see more than $1 billion in new revenue over the next decade.
Huberty’s bill will be heard in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday. A companion bill, SB 736 by Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.