After a tough year for professional sports, a group of Dallas teams are banding together to promote a new potential source of revenue: sports betting.
The Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks are all behind a bill that’s set to be introduced in the Texas Legislature by Republican state representative from Houston, Dan Huberty. The bill would lift the ban on sports betting in Texas.
Dallas Morning News investigative reporter Lauren McGaughy broke the story, and says while some of the revenue from sports betting would go to the state in support of special education, the teams stand to benefit too.
“The winner would get a cut, the state would get a cut, and the provider, which is the pro team, partnered with some kind of a platform like DraftKings or FanDuel, would get a cut,” she said.
But it won’t be easy. Legalizing sports betting would first requires an amendment to the Texas Constitution to lift the ban. That would require a two-thirds vote in the Texas House and Senate. Then the measure would go to the voters, most likely in a November election. And after that, the rules and regulations would have to be decided on in another bill.
McGaughy says a related effort was successful six years ago, when pro sports teams lobbied state lawmakers to legalize charity auctions so they could raise money for their foundations.
There’s also a parallel effort in Texas to legalize casinos, but McGaughy says the pro-sports betting advocates likely don’t want to be affiliated with that.
“Austin insiders agree that … bringing casinos to Texas is a much bigger lift than legalizing sports betting. So the sports betting folks probably just don’t really want to tie themselves to an issue that has a harder time of passing,” she said.
So far, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan have taken a “neutral stance” on the issue, but Lt. Dan Partrick will have to be convinced of its merits.
“[Patrick] has not been supportive in the past, and just yesterday after our story came out, he went on the radio and basically threw cold water on the issue,” McGaughy said.