Texas House approves online sports betting.

Texans may soon have the opportunity to vote on a Constitutional amendment that would legalize online sports betting in the state. House Joint Resolution 102, the proposed piece of legislation, aims to regulate an activity that already takes place across Texas. State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Allen), who authored the bill, explained that individuals can already bet online on sporting events. However, this occurs “criminally and unconstitutionally” under current laws. HJR 102 seeks to create better regulation and protect children.

Despite passing in the Texas House, the initial vote failed to gain the necessary two-thirds approval for a proposed amendment to the state Constitution. Leach, nevertheless, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to secure additional votes. In the final vote, HJR 102 achieved one more vote than needed- 101 members voted in its favour.

Leach emphasised that HJR 102 was not a measure to extend gambling. Rather it sought to legalise and regulate an existing activity and bring it out of the shadows. Leach’s argument, one which found support in the House, was that over a million Texans were already betting online on sporting events, and better regulation was inevitable.

However, HJR 155, which aims to authorize casinos in the state, may face rejection due to the lack of support in the legislature. Observers predict that it would not receive the necessary 100 votes. Furthermore, both proposals require a two-thirds majority in the Texas Senate to become law.

While Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has previously expressed his opposition to expanding gambling in Texas, Leach believes that HJR 102, still has a chance. He suggested that the sports wagering legislation is yet to have a fair chance within the Senate, as the Lieutenant Governor has not yet ruled it out.

If passed, HJR 102 could lead to significant state revenue. However, before this can happen, it must meet regulatory requirements and receive approval from the Texas Senate and Texas voters.

A video report on the proposed legislation can be viewed in the embedded link.

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