Many Texans would support regulated casinos and sports betting, a poll claims

The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas have carried out a poll to analyse attitudes towards sports betting and casinos in the state. 

Most Texans would be in favour of legalised casino gambling, with sports betting also getting a sizeable number of approvers. 

Sports betting is currently illegal in Texas and has some of the US’ strictest gambling laws. 

Sports betting gets a decent level of support 

Of those that participated in the poll, 43% would be happy for lawmakers in the state to pass sports betting into law. 

A further 26% of participants said that they would be against state laws allowing people to wager on sporting events legally. A further 31% said that they didn’t care either way. 

Majority of participants support legal casino betting 

Support for regulated casino gambling was higher than that for sports betting. Of those who cast a vote, 56% said they would support legalised gambling in casinos throughout the state.

Interestingly, opposition for casino betting was higher than it was for sports betting. 29% of respondents said they didn’t want this form of gambling to be regulated, with the remaining 13% indifferent. 

Arguments for legal gambling in Texas 

Legal betting in Texas of any kind is extremely limited. The state has a lottery, and charitable bingo – plus betting on horse racing and greyhound racing – is permitted. Everything else, however, is banned. 

Legislation to change the legal status of gambling in the Lone Star State has been filed. But as of yet, nothing has materialised. 

According to figures cited in the Dallas Morning News, Texan residents place $2.5 billion on sports bets in other states. 

Supporters of expanded legal gambling framework in Texas argue that the state is missing out on significant additional tax revenue. 

Will sports betting come to Texas anytime soon? 

Since sports betting is banned by the state’s constitution, two different bills would be needed to legalise the vertical. Besides one to introduce sports wagering’s licensing details, another piece of legislation is needed to alter the constitution. 

Any bill to change the constitution would require support from two-thirds of both the Senate and House. 

Opponents of sports betting in Texas include religious groups and some casino companies based in Las Vegas.

Robert Kohler is a lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission, which represents the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He doesn’t think sports betting is heading south anytime soon. 

Kohler said: “Folks that are getting elected are not going to their communities and saying, ‘If you send me to Austin I’ll vote for casinos, or fantasy sports, or sports wagering’.

“Until that day comes, I don’t see the needle moving.” 

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