The State of Texas is known for its unique blend of culture and charm. It is, in fact, the third largest state in the U.S. and the home of the Alamo and San Antonio, two of the most well-known cities in the country. The combination of these three factors makes Texas a legitimate contender for the title of “sports state.” In recent years, the city of Arlington has tried to cash in on this interest, granting sportsbooks a gaming license and setting up the nation’s largest sportsbooking website. But with the passage of time, the tides may be shifting. The state is now under the jurisdiction of The United States Attorney General, who is currently investigating whether or not Texas allows for legal sports betting. If this review clears the way for sports betting in Texas, then there is still some hope for those in the industry who are looking for a new market to exploit. Let’s take a look at the situation and what it means for sports bettors in the state.
The Latest From The Attorney General
This past August, the Attorney General of Texas filed a lawsuit against the state’s six current and former legislators who voted in 2015 to allow for legal sports betting. The lawsuit cites open gaming, fixed odds betting, and casino games as activities that would be prohibited under federal law. It also claims that those who voted in favor of the legislation did not intend to aid the expansion of legal sports betting in the state.
The bill, which was authored by State Rep. Nelson Castro and State Sen. Manny Dijou, would have allowed for the establishment of up to 100 sportsbooks in Texas, with a cap of 4,600 gaming machines at those bookies. It was not immediately clear how much revenue the bill would have generated. The Attorney General has not yet filed suit against those who supported the legislation, and they may still be able to operate legally in the state under the pretense that they did not know what kind of bill they were voting on.
Is This A New Development?
It is not a new phenomenon for the Attorneys General of individual states to sue other states over issues like legalized sports betting. In 2017, the United States AG launched a lawsuit against the State of New York over the operation of sportsbooks within its borders. The lawsuit also cited the Empire State’s interest in generating revenue from sports betting as the cause of its opposition to the practice. In February of this year, Nevada AG Catherine Cortez-Masten filed suit against the State of Oregon, claiming that the implementation of sports betting would “undermine the intent and purpose of the state’s sports betting ban” and would lead to more gambling addiction and social problems. So it seems that when it comes to states cracking down on other states’ legal sportsbooks, the practice is not entirely new.
However, the position of the federal government is that it should not interfere with the regulation of sports wagering within a state’s borders. The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) has already spoken on this issue, ruling in Murphy v. NCAA (2008) that the federal government has no role to play in regulating sports wagering other than to protect the integrity of the game. This protection, the court ruled, can be provided through the use of technology and oversight by state and federal regulators. The Justice Department issued a joint statement with the NCAA, NFL, and NBA in 2008, reiterating this point and announcing that it would not challenge the legalization of sports betting in states where it is permitted. In other words, the government agrees with the position taken by the sports leagues and organizations in that sports betting should be legalized, but only if it is done legally within the context of a state’s own regulations.
What If The DOJ Complains About NFL Jerseys?
One of the most interesting angles to this story comes in the form of a hypothetical question: what if the United States Attorney General and the Justice Department step forward and oppose the legalization of sports betting in Texas because they feel that it would encourage people to bet on the NFL?
Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who would bet on the Super Bowl, rather than just use the occasion to watch the game. Those who follow professional football know that the National Football League (NFL) is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, sports in the country, largely due to the fact that it is a year-round sport and there are always several games going on at once. The only annual NFL championship is arguably the most-watched and most-followed sporting event of the year, largely because the games are often close to the end of the season and there is lots of interest in the outcome. This is all anecdotal evidence, but it does suggest that there is definitely a demand for sports betting in the U.S., particularly with regard to the NFL.
There is one problem with this line of thinking, however: the NFL does not permit the use of sportsbooks inside its arenas. This means that fans who want to place bets on the Super Bowl have to go outside the stadium. Fortunately, there are several legal ways for them to do that. The easiest option is to use a VPN to spoof their location and appear to be anywhere else. This way, they can safely place bets from wherever they choose.
Will Texas Legalize Sports Betting Soon?
Castro and Dijou’s bill would have allowed for the establishment of up to 100 sportsbooks in the state, with a cap of 4,600 gaming machines at those bookies. It was not immediately clear how much revenue the bill would have generated. The Attorney General has not yet filed suit against those who supported the legislation, and they may still be able to operate legally in the state under the pretense that they did not know what kind of bill they were voting on.
As previously mentioned, the position of the federal government is that it should not interfere with the regulation of sports wagering within a state’s borders. Whether or not Texas will continue to adhere to this “hands-off” policy or change its stance and allow for legalized sports betting remains to be seen. The sports betting industry is interested in expanding into the state, thanks in large part to its large population of sports fans, and there is no reason to believe that this interest will diminish any time soon.
In the meantime, those who are serious about placing bets on sports can continue to do so through offshore websites that are legal and regulated, providing a safer and more convenient option for those who want to place wagers on their favorite teams.