Back in late December 2021, on the 13th to be precise, Texas state representative Dan Huberty said “I really believe there’s an opportunity here to pass sports betting in 2023. If you present it to the voters in the right way, it’s gonna pass. It will pass.”
The significance! He was speaking at a conference held by a group known as the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS).
The NCLGS is – according to their Twitter bio – a Non-partisan org of state legislators focused on sound gambling regulation & policy.
So is there any significance in this statement made by Huberty? Or is it just a politician saying something purely to appease the people in the room listening to him?
Well, we all know that getting gambling laws passed in Texas has proved to be a fruitless exercise lately. As recently as 2021, several bills were rejected in the legislative session.
Well, to take Dan Huberty at his word, I believe his line – “if you present it to the voters in the right way, it’s gonna pass. It will pass” – to be very significant.
There are currently proposed gambling bills all across the USA bogged down by layers upon layers of additional amendments and caveats. Proposals that won’t even make it onto the ballot paper due to varying reasons.
One of the key factors behind the opposition to those bills is all of the add-ons.
There never seems to be a simple binary question. And ultimately the bills get challenged legally. Or the state doesn’t support it and rails against it, and the proposal is confined to the trash bin and the history books.
What Huberty is trying to say is to make it a simple choice. Don’t add 58 casinos within a 5-mile radius onto the bill, or something stupid along those lines. I’m sure you get my drift!
Just ask a simple question, and it may well make it onto the ballot paper.
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Here on SBS we reported last year how the San Antonio Spurs and bet365 had between them launched a Daily Fantasy Site (DFS).
This was deemed to be a positive in the fight to legalize gambling in the lone star state.
An established big-name betting site such as bet365 doesn’t make that sort of investment unless they think it will pay dividends in the long run.
Not only did the deal between the Spurs and the English bookmaking giant see the launch of the DFS, but it also gave bet365 commercial exposure at the AT&T Center for Spurs’ home matches, and a presence on all the Spurs’ social media outlets.
This was a hugely significant deal for not just the Spurs and bet365, but for the state of Texas and their conservative gambling laws in general.
The management of bet365 could clearly see the landscape changing in the not too distant future. And when it does change, they have now ensured they have a strong foothold in Texas, and will also already be a well-known brand.
When you add that to Dan Huberty’s remarks, it is easy to see why people are starting to get excited at the prospect of the state’s gambling laws finally changing.
Huberty’s comments can not only be seen as encouraging though. They must also serve as a warning.
Talk of presenting the bill to voters in the right way could be seen as a line in the sand. A warning shot aimed at greedy casino and betting site owners. Those looking to get their hands on the potential proceeds such a change in legislation could bring.
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We’ve already recently seen the turf war and legal battles going on in the state of Florida.
The Sunshine State has seen no less than four proposals tabled ahead of this year’s legislative sessions.
All four come from different entities, with different propositions, and layers of amendments included.
So far only one proposal has reached the petition threshold of signatures to make it onto the ballot paper.
But even that is being looked at by the state’s Supreme Court.
The court is set to look into the initiative. It’s remit is to see if it meets state requirements, such as only having a single subject and wording that is not misleading to voters.
This is exactly the sort of thing that I believe Dan Huberty is alluding to.
If the entities looking to legalize gambling in Texas go down this route, Huberty is potentially saying that your bill won’t get anywhere.
Keep it simple and to the point, and he is sure it will get approval.
There are heavy backers such as the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who is keen. Instead of competing against Jones, proponents of legalizing gambling in Florida need to work with him.
And likewise, Jerry Jones may have to work with entities he usually regards as enemies.
The end destination is in sight. The entities need to see this, not be greedy, and be prepared to work together. If they can do that, Huberty has predicted they could achieve their goal.
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For more information about betting in the lone star state, please visit our Florida Sports Betting Sites page.