A statement from Texas’ Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick casts doubts on the future of House Bill 1942 (HB1942), outlining the proposed regulation of the state’s sports betting market. With Patrick asserting that the bill has “little to no support” in the Senate, the pathway for the legislation is facing significant opposition.
HB1942 Fails to Charm the Senate
In the face of hopeful momentum last week, when the House of Representatives voted favourably on HJR 102, the prospects of regulated sports betting in Texas have hit a stumbling block. HJR 102, a constitutional amendment, proposed to provide Texans with the opportunity to vote online sports betting into law. Accompanying this, HB1942 navigated successfully through the House, securing a 82-51 vote.
However, these victories are seemingly overshadowed by Patrick’s recent declaration. The Lieutenant Governor made his stance clear, stating that sports betting lacks the necessary backing from the Senate. Echoing his earlier sentiments, Patrick took to Twitter to emphasize the Senate GOP’s lack of enthusiasm for expanding gaming.
“I’ve said repeatedly there is little to no support for expanding gaming from Senate GOP,” he tweeted. “I polled members this week. Nothing changed.”
A Senate Focused on Overwhelming GOP Support
Patrick’s standpoint signals a significant challenge for the supporters of HB1942. He underscored the Senate’s reluctance to “waste time” on bills that do not enjoy “overwhelming” support from the Republican party. According to him, the Senate is steadfast in its commitment to prioritising legislation that aligns with the expectations of GOP voters.
“The senate must focus on issues voters expect us to pass,” read the tweet. “We don’t waste time on bills without overwhelming GOP support. HB1942 won’t be referred.”
Implications for the iGaming Industry
The setback for HB1942 has profound implications for the iGaming industry in Texas and beyond.
Firstly, the limited support for the bill within the Senate suggests that the introduction of regulated online sports betting in Texas is currently an uphill battle. Without legislative progression, the industry might struggle to gain traction in the state.
Secondly, the strong GOP influence in the Senate could shape future industry legislation. If the Republican party continues to wield significant sway over which bills progress, it could lead to an environment where only gambling-related proposals with extensive GOP support see the light of day.
Lastly, the situation in Texas could serve as a barometer for other states contemplating similar legislation. If a bill advocating for the regulation of sports betting fails to secure Senate approval in Texas, it could influence the strategies of other states seeking to introduce or expand their own sports betting laws.