One year after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing states to legalize sports betting, most states--including Texas--have yet to ante up. So far, only 12 states have legalized sports wagering since the Supreme Court's May 2018 ruling. A Texas lawmaker introduced legislation earlier this year to put the issue before voters, but the bill failed to gain any traction in the legislature.
Based on the mostly conservative leadership in Texas, advocates of expanded gambling don't expect a victory here anytime soon. "Texas is always going to be one of the very last states to ever allow any sort of gambling, whether it's poker, sports, anything like that," says Ray Henson, co-host of Poker Lab Radio on Sportstalk 790. "There's bingo halls, there's lotteries, there's horse racing, but they for some reason are very strict against other forms of gambling and casinos."
Indeed, despite a public push by advocates in recent years to legalize sports betting, Texas leaders like Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have expressed opposition to any expansion of gambling, as have many other members of the state legislature. Still, Henson believes attitudes about gambling are changing, albeit slowly. "Other people are coming in that realize how much money the state could make for itself if there were actually casinos and sports betting," he tells KTRH. "But with (leadership) being so far toward the conservative side, it's going to take some time to replace those people in office, and get other people in who will actually be for gambling."