Posted on: December 15, 2022, 06:27.
Last updated on: 15 December 2022, 06:40.
Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is enthusiastic about bringing regulated mobile sports betting to Texas, noting it could add $250 million a year to the state’s coffers.
In a recent interview with FOX 7 Austin’s Rudy Koski, the former Energy Secretary, said betting has been going on for centuries. Now, with more than 30 states and Washington, D.C., allowing sports betting, it’s time for Texas to consider joining the group, he says.
Last month, Perry joined the Sports Betting Alliance — a group made up of Texas professional sports franchises and gaming companies. They aim to bring regulated sports betting to the second largest US state. In the interview, he emphasized his educational role with the organization.
Let’s make sure it’s safe. Let’s make sure that your information is not used anywhere by any bad platform. That’s why it’s the right time.” he said FOX 7.
He estimates that in 2021, Texans placed $8.7 billion in sports betting, mostly through unregulated offshore companies.
Perry favors sports betting, not game expansion
In the interview, Fox 7 Koski rightly points out that when he ran for governor, Perry was actively reaching out to evangelical Christians — a voting bloc that typically opposes gambling in any form.
The former governor also admitted that when he was a member of the Texas Legislature, he opposed the lottery and pari-mutuel betting. He made it clear he’s still opposed to expanding gaming, noting that adding regulated mobile sports betting from Texas is a much different ball game than opening casinos in the state.
“But I was not personally involved in the expansion of gambling. I’m still not in favor of expanding gambling,” Perry told Koski. “This is not an extension of gambling. And I think that’s the biggest ingrained educational process that needs to go on. It is an activity that has been going on for decades, if not centuries. And now, because of the proliferation of these devices or iPhones, etc., it is relatively easy for someone to place a bet. Let’s make sure it’s regulated and safe.”
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who easily won re-election last month, recently signaled that he is more open to casinos than previously speculated, and he has softened his stance on sports betting.
The proverbial hurdle to clear is Governor Dan Patrick, also a Republican. Patrick opposes the expansion of gaming in Texas in any form, including sports betting.
Perry wants it in the voters’ hands
Perry is a spokesman for the Sports Betting Alliance, not a lobbyist. But he wants the issue of sports betting to be put before Texas voters.
Related legislation, including casino gaming, requires two-thirds approval from both legislative chambers, and Republicans control each — some of whom oppose casino gaming and sports betting. If a bill can make it that far, the proposal would appear on the November 2023 ballot and would require a majority of Texas voters to say “Yes.” This is how the state constitution can be changed
“I think it’s absolutely the right way to do it. Go to the people. And what we’re asking lawmakers to do is listen. Vote to let your constituents vote. For this issue in the fall for a constitutional amendment issue,” Perry added.
If Texas allows regulated sports betting, the state could 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 bets inside a casino. Oklahoma does not yet allow sports betting.