Posted on: December 15, 2022, 06:27h.
Last updated on: December 15, 2022, 06:40h.
Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is enthusiastic about bring regulated mobile sports wagering to Texas, noting it could add $250 million a year to state coffers.
In a recent interview with FOX 7 Austin’s Rudy Koski, the former Secretary of Energy said betting has been occurring for centuries. Now, with more than 30 states and Washington, DC permitting sports wagering, it’s time for Texas to consider joining the group, he contends.
Last month, Perry joined the Sports Betting Alliance — a group comprised of professional sports franchises in Texas and gaming companies. They are aiming to bring regulated sports wagering to the second-largest US state. In the interview, he emphasized his educational role with the organization.
Let’s make sure that it’s safe. Let’s make sure that your information doesn’t get used by some nefarious platform somewhere. That’s why the time is right,” he told FOX 7.
He estimates that in 2021, Texans placed $8.7 billion in sports wagers, mostly through unregulated offshore companies.
Perry Favors Sports Betting, Not Gaming Expansion
In the interview, FOX 7’s Koski rightly points out that when he was running for governor, Perry actively courted evangelical Christians — a voting bloc that usually opposes wagering in any form.
The former governor also acknowledged that when he was a member of the Texas legislature, he opposed the lottery and pari-mutuel wagering. He made clear that he’s still opposed to gaming expansion, noting that Texas adding regulated mobile sports wagering is a much different ballgame than opening casinos in the state.
“But the expansion of gambling I wasn’t personally for. I’m still not for the expansion of gambling,” said Perry to Koski. “This is not an expansion of gambling. And I think that’s the biggest education process rooted that needs to go on. This is about an activity that has gone on for decades, if not centuries. And now, because of the proliferation of these devices or iPhones, etc., it’s relatively easy for someone to place a bet. Let’s make sure that it’s regulated and that it’s safe.”
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who easily won reelection last month, recently signaled he’s more open to casinos than previously speculated, and he’s softened his stance on sports betting.
The proverbial hurdle that needs to be cleared is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also a Republican. Patrick opposes gaming expansion in Texas in any form, including sports betting.
Perry Wants It in Voters’ Hands
Perry is a spokesman for the Sports Betting Alliance, not a lobbyist. But he does want the issue of sports wagering put before Texas voters.
Related legislation, including casino gaming, requires two-thirds approval from both legislative chambers, and Republicans control each — some of which are opposed to casino gaming and sports wagering. If a bill can get that far, the proposal would appear on the November 2023 ballot and require a majority of Texas voters to say “Yes.” That’s how the state’s constitution can be amended
“I think it’s totally the right way to do it. Go to the people. And what we’re asking the legislators to do is listen. Vote to allow your constituents the vote. On this issue in the fall on a constitutional amendment question,” added Perry.
If Texas permits regulated sports wagering, the state might enjoy some geographic advantages, as Louisiana is the only neighboring state that allows mobile sports betting. In Arkansas and New Mexico, bettors must place sports wagers inside a casino. Oklahoma doesn’t yet permit sports betting.
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