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Texas online sports betting bill reaches state senate

Texas gambling news - sports betting bill gets House approval

State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) on Monday proposed a bill to legalize online sports betting in Texas.

According to Kolkhorst, this sports betting bill, SB 715, is beneficial to the state as it will keep the gaming market regulated and also bring revenue to the state. She also proposed a ten percent tax rate on the revenue that will be generated from sports betting.

“I introduced SB 715 and SJR 39 because Texas needs to bring security and safety into the world of mobile sports betting. It makes sense to reign in all of the illegal offshore betting and keep sports wagering funds here in Texas,” Kolkhorst said in the statement.

“As a former collegiate athlete, I respect the purity of sports and feel SB 715 and SJR 39 will promote integrity through transparent licensing, permitting, and reporting requirements.”

Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who is also a partner of the bill, noted that he is delighted that the sports betting proposal has been brought forth to the legislature. He said the approval of the bill will safeguard players and somewhat reduce the illegal gambling operations in the state.

“I am proud to partner with Senator Kolkhorst in filing this important legislation,” Leach said in a statement.

“It will serve to promote freedom and liberty in Texas and protect our citizens from the illegal and increasingly dangerous sports betting market that preys on unsuspecting consumers, including minors, putting their personal and financial information at great risk.”

READ: Texas residents in favor of legalizing gambling

Many gambling operators and other legislators have made public statements applauding the move of senators Kolkhorst and Leach. A handful have noted that if online sports betting is not regulated, it will still be operated illegally with no proceeds going to the state’s coffers.

“Sports betting is a very popular form of entertainment. Sports fans enjoy placing bets on their favorite sports because it brings them closer to the team and puts them in the game,” Houston Rockets boss Tilman Fertitta said in a press statement.

“No one wins with an illegal market as robust as the one in Texas and I applaud Senator Kolkhorst and Representative Leach for recognizing the need to address the illegal market in Texas.”

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane added, “Sports betting is going to happen whether it is regulated or not. Rather than having Texans betting illegally through unknown companies in foreign countries, this bill will allow controls and safeguards for sports betting in Texas while generating significant revenue that will be used to reduce everyone’s property taxes in Texas.”

The former governor Rick Perry, in a written statement, noted how the legalization of sports betting will boost the state’s economy rapidly. He explained that the sports betting industry will be able to generate about $250 million in the first two years.

“Revenue from legal mobile sports betting in Texas could bring in more than a quarter billion [dollars] in the first biennium alone,” Perry stated.

“Our neighboring states are cashing in on Texans’ bets and a smart, efficient legal framework will keep that revenue here to go towards much-needed property tax relief.”

According to the bill, 2 percent of the 10 percent that is charged for the tax will go into problem gambling programs, and the other 8 percent will be used to fund the Texas Education Agency and provide “property tax relief” for the residents of the state.

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