HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Sports betting, in some form, is now legal in 35 states. legalize sports betting in Texas the legislative session begins in January.
“I did not support widespread gambling during my years in office,” former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who served from 2000 to 2015, admitted in an interview. 1-on-1 with ABC13 Thursday.
But Perry, a lifelong Republican, is now teaming up with the Texas Sports Betting Alliance in a push to green sports betting in Texas.
“I don’t think this is an expansion of gambling,” Perry said. “This is the investigation and enforcement of an act that goes on in this state. Over $8 billion in illegal gambling goes on every year in the state of Texas. That’s not going to stop. take legal action. It’s already going on, we’re taking action, we know it’s not right, we’re having a proper investigation, and as an added bonus, the state of Texas is going to get over half a billion dollars. or to his income fund, which can be used for many good purposes.”
The Texas Sports Betting Alliance is a coalition of the Lone Star State’s 11 pro sports franchises that is proposing to legalize mobile sports betting by 2023.
“We’re pretty sure we have more power, and we think it’s time to talk to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” explained Cara Gustafson, with the Texas Sports Betting Alliance. “At the end of the day, they approach each issue from their own perspective, and there are some legislators who feel it’s not about them or their constituents. they know about this illegal market that we want to fight. Texans are getting rich.”
In October, before re-election, Gov. Greg Abbott’s office told ABC13 that the governor “views sports betting” as a “very professional entertainment option” for Texans. The governor and his Republican allies have long opposed legalizing gambling.
“Like many other initiatives and strong ideas: when the lights go on in Austin and we ask if there’s something we want to introduce to our voters, it’s not going anywhere ,” said Rob Kohler, representative of the Baptist General Conference’s Christian Life Commission. of Texas, told ABC13 Thursday. “Put it in a country where gambling is legalized. You can’t legalize gambling ‘just a little,’ that’s the problem.”
Earlier in November, California, the only state with more citizens than Texas, strongly rejected a ballot proposal that would legalize sports betting there.
“I’m not going to say now or never, but 35 countries have entered the discussion,” Gustafson said. “That’s what makes us stronger.”
“I think it’s good for everybody across the board,” Perry said. “I’m very confident as Texans, we live here because we love freedom, that the majority of people in the state of Texas in November are going to support an amendment law.”
In order for sports betting to be legalized in Texas, the measure must pass through the state House, Senate and Governor Abbott before it can be put to a statewide vote as a legislative amendment.
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