Even the Dallas Morning News Says: Sports Gambling in Texas Doesn’t Add Up

The Texas Constitution prohibits gambling – Previous efforts to insert the proverbial camel's nose under the Texas Tent have all failed

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — For a 3rd straight Legislative Session, gambling interests have hired 100s of lobbyists in Austin and an expansion of gambling is on the table – particularly in the Texas House of Represntatives. Predictions of wonderful tax revenues have proven to be way off in other states that have permitted expansion, and there is a dark side to the industry as well: Gambling Addiction.

But Texas, with its population of around 30 million, has long been a sought-after target of the highly profitable Sports Betting Industry. Here's how a recent Dallas Morning News Editorial analyzed the idea.

Texas Sports Gambling Doesn’t Add Up

Why are legislators ready to give so much to gambling interests?

By Dallas Morning News Editorial on Mar 14th, 2023

The Texas Legislature is getting ever closer to opening up the state to online sports gambling. It’s not a sure thing, and the debate is ongoing. But, as is the case when gambling powerbrokers come knocking, there is a promise of riches that is becoming ever more tempting to the Legislature.

For politicians who really do want to spend more money but don’t want to raise taxes, it’s the best game going in Austin.

But when it comes to taking the word of the gaming industry, caveat emptor. The promises rarely add up to the payout.

As Austin bureau reporter Aarón Torres wrote recently, states around the country have not seen revenue projections met after they expanded gambling.

Former Gov. Rick Perry, the state’s most prominent gambling lobbyist (if you don’t count the likes of Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones), is touting $250 million a year in tax payments from online sports betting companies.

Let us rephrase that. He is touting $250 million a year in taxes from people who lose sports bets that is then transferred through gambling companies to the state of Texas.

As Torres reported, the projection Perry is using “hinges on Texas doubling the record for the highest amount any state has ever seen in gaming revenue.”

Do you want to lay a wager that’s going to happen?

Texas and its people are a huge get for the gambling industry, which is always the real winner in any expanded legalization of betting. The people of the state of Texas won’t fare so well.

“Texans would have to lose almost $3 billion dollars for the state to match the projected tax revenue,” Torres reports.

You can almost hear the bookies salivating about how close Texas is to getting into the online sports gambling game.

USBets, a website that covers the gambling industry, wrote in February that “[s]ports betting progress in Texas would send shockwaves throughout the industry. For perspective, it would provide legal betting access in one fell swoop to more people than the two largest states that currently have regulated markets, Pennsylvania and Illinois, combined.”

If that wasn’t enough, the leading bills currently under consideration in the Texas House are such a gift to the gambling industry it begs the question of whom lawmakers are really representing.

The bills under consideration set the state’s cut at a measly 10%, ensuring that when that money is transferred from residents to the state, gambling companies keep a much greater share.

If legislators have decided that expanded gambling is the way to go, they might want to raise Texas’ take of the losers’ money. We might well need the funds for expanded social programs.

Dallas Morning News editorials are written by the paper's Editorial Board and serve as the voice and view of the paper. We welcome your thoughts in a letter to the editor. Submit your letter here.