Louisiana Ready to Embrace Gambling, But Texas Remains in the Dark Ages

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Efforts to support the rollout of sports gambling in the US continue to show disparity among lawmakers. Some have shown themselves to be ready to embrace the future, which has led to sports gambling being legalized in almost 30 states, plus Washington, DC. Then there are those who, despite their constituents showing support for legalized sports gambling, prefer to remain in the dark ages. Enough lawmakers in Louisiana fall into the first category that legal sports gambling could be seen before the start of this fall’s football season. On the other hand, however, Texas will continue to let hundreds of millions of dollars slip through its fingers as lawmakers in the state refuse to follow voters’ wishes.

Sports gambling legislation in Louisiana has made a lot of progress recently and isn’t slowing down. There are still a couple of more hurdles for the bill to jump before victory can be achieved, but no one expects there to be any resistance. Of the state’s 64 parishes, voters in 55 of them have shown overwhelming support for sports gambling, and lawmakers are more than happy to comply.

As the state’s sports gambling market is structured now, pending any last-minute changes, there will be 20 sportsbook licenses, with casinos and racetracks given first priority to apply. Any licenses not claimed by January 1 of next year will then be available to fantasy sports gambling operators and video poker gaming halls. All sportsbooks in the state will be allowed to offer an in-person or a mobile sportsbook, as well as to launch kiosks at certain bars and restaurants.

Texas Lawmakers Make a Rapid Retreat

As its neighbor to the east prepares to launch sports gambling ahead of the upcoming NFL season, Texas is going in the opposite direction. Lawmakers in the state have decided that they don’t need to worry about what state voters think, despite the fact that they support legalized sports gambling. A sports gambling bill died in committee after it sat on a desk, ignored by committee members.

The same occurred to a bill that would have authorized new casinos in the state. Not even Las Vegas Sands and its multimillion-dollar campaign was enough to sway lawmakers, and the Texas House Committee on State Affairs snubbed the casino bill. The state is apparently swimming in free cash and doesn’t need to improve its economic status.

That bill would have brought billions of dollars in revenue to Texas, based on its language. A resort with a Class I license in a city with over five million residents would have required a $2-billion investment. In a city of less than five million, a $1 billion investment. Four cities were targeted through the bill, Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, and the venues would have had to pay a 25% tax rate on slot machine revenue and a 10% tax rate on table game revenue. Now, however, Texas won’t see any of it.

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