On Wednesday (22 March), Texas lawmakers debated the bill, which would legalise mobile sports betting in the Lone Star State. The proposed law, which is backed by former governor Rick Perry, is accompanied by a House joint resolution which proposes an amendment to the Texas constitution, as gambling is specifically prohibited in the text.
If successful, the amendment will go to a national referendum in November, where the final decision to legalise sports betting will be placed directly in the hands of voters.
“Here to stay”
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Jeff Leach, sought to characterise sports betting as an activity that was already “here to stay” in Texas.
“While this has been happening – even here in Texas for decades – it’s being done illegally,” said Leach. “It’s being done in the shadows, with bookies and offshore accounts, with no regulation, no protections for privacy or data, no monitoring and certainly no recourse for anyone to be held accountable if something goes awry with a placed bet in the state of Texas.”