It's the Sunday of all Sundays in the sporting world. Whether you watch to root on your favorite team, or just watch for the commercials in between, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the nation's biggest days on television.
The Super Bowl is also one of the biggest days for sports betting. Thirty states in the United States can legally bet on their favorite team this Sunday, but Texas is not one of them. Despite this, Texans are still partaking, with estimates showing that over one million Texas residents bet $5 billion in illegal sports bets in Texas in 2020.
According to the Sports Betting Alliance — an organization composed of professional sports teams, betting platforms and fans — many Texans are unaware that they are placing bets illegally. This makes Texans vulnerable, as illegal betting is unregulated, and there is no guarantee that bettors will see their payout or that their personal information is safe. There is also nobody to turn to if you do get scammed.
They also claim that many bettors in Texas will head to neighboring states like Colorado and Louisiana to place legal bets, taking potential revenue out of Texas.
“The legalization of sports betting would mean implementing smart and efficient oversight to preserve the integrity of sporting events, empower Texans to safely participate in sports betting, and fight illegal gambling,” said Cara Gustafson in a release, spokesperson for the Sports Betting Alliance. “Given that Texans are already participating in sports betting, legalization would be a win for all involved.”
However, according to the Texas Tribune, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick isn't convinced, and has argued that the potentially new tax revenue streams from expanding gaming in Texas would only help a fraction of the state’s budget.
"...it doesn’t generate much money for Texas, it generates a lot of money for them,” Patrick said on a Dallas Radio Show in Feb. 2021 regarding sports teams and their push toward sports betting.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that barred states from legalizing sports gambling, violates the U.S. Constitution. Since then, individual states have gotten to choose whether to legalize sports betting or not.
Gov. Abbott has said that he wants to hear from lawmakers to see how their constituents feel about gaming in Texas before moving forward with anything.
The Sports Betting Alliance said that in 2021, Americans legally wagered more than $52.7 billion in sports betting throughout the year.