Supreme Court legalizes sports gambling; what does that mean for Texas?

Supreme Court legalizes sports gambling; what does that mean for Texas?

With a vote of 6-3 in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association on May 14, the United States Supreme Court determined that the federal ban on sports betting as established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional, paving the way for the legalization of sports betting in all 50 states.

The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year, but don’t expect Texas to “say yes” anytime soon.

“I don’t think this will have much of an impact in the short term,” said Texas House District 21 Rep. Dade Phelan. “What I thought this was is a victory for state rights. The state needs to be able to decide this at a state level and a whole lot of other issues, not the federal government telling us what to do.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is currently battling in the courtroom to shut down the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Naskila gaming facility near Woodville, which has more than 300 electronic bingo games.

Texans can play the lottery, bet on horses and greyhounds at select locations as well as play online fantasy sports such as Draft Kings and Fan Duel, though Paxton is fighting to stop Draft Kings and Fan Duel, calling it “illegal gambling.”

“Simply put, it is prohibited gambling in Texas if you bet on the performance of a participant in a sporting event and the house takes a cut,” Paxton said.

Phelan disagrees with the attorney general and said he co-authored a bill last session for fantasy sports sites to remain operational.

“I don’t think fantasy ports are a game of chance,” said Phelan. “I think it takes skill to participate in those, and I will support that again. I think that is viable as far as changing statue.”

Sports betting in Texas?

Phelan said there won’t be a rush to change state law. “I don’t see that happening in the legislation this session,” he said.

But our neighbors to the east in Louisiana, which is home to many casinos, could see sports betting sooner rather than later.

“It’s an exciting time for our industry because when you are in a mature industry like gaming, there aren’t that many new opportunities like this that come along with new forms of wagering that are outside of Las Vegas,” said Troy Stremming, executive vice president of Government Relations & Public Affairs for Pinnacle Entertainment, which owns L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles.

“We are excited about the opportunity, not just because it will give our current guests another type of amenity and new option of wagering. It allows us to touch the guests who are not interested in slots or table games and like to follow sports,” said Stremming.

But there is still work to be done in Louisiana, and Stremming said he is “cautiously optimistic” and hopes the state of Louisiana looks at this as an opportunity to grow the business and create new tax revenue for the state.

It looks as if Louisiana may become your “best bet.”

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