Legal Sports Betting To North Texas?

That's One Dallas City Council Member's Goal

As a new survey from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation discovered, there is a sizable amount of support from Texans regarding the legalization of some forms of sports gambling and, if one member of the Dallas City Council has his way, legal North Texas sports betting could be here sooner rather than later. Chad West wants Dallas to legalize sports gambling before the state government does so in an attempt to have Dallas essentially establish a first-mover advantage.

The thinking here is that if Dallas can legalize betting first, then it can build the infrastructure to fully capitalize on state-wide legalization by building physical sportsbooks. Not only would this allow for the city to gain experience in dealing with the initial wave of change associated with legalization but it would make potential bettors aware of Dallas as a destination where they can go to bet.

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Also, having this infrastructure can make Dallas more desirable for sports teams that likely want to get a cut of any betting revenue from picks and parlays.

While teams like the Mavericks and Stars don’t seem like candidates to move out of Dallas toward neighboring Arlington — where the Rangers and Cowboys are located — it certainly would be a good idea for the city to keep its very prized franchises in mind when making these kinds of important decisions that can lead to huge amounts of profit for all parties involved. It also can be a smart financial move for Dallas by maximizing potential tax revenue for the city from betting activities.

Legalization In Texas Is Still Far Away

The elephant in the room regarding North Texas sports betting is that Texas isn’t particularly close to legalizing sports betting on a state-wide basis. So, Dallas could in theory go through with the legalization process only for it to not make a difference if the state doesn’t decide to follow suit. There aren’t currently any measures in the state legislature that would legalize online or in-person sports gambling which means that the earliest possible legalization could happen in 2025.

There are still plenty of big states where legalization hasn’t happened yet — California is another major one — so Texas isn’t alone in its reluctance to open the floodgates to betting, so to speak. But, Texas does seem like a perfect place to legalize because it has a ton of professional sports teams that could serve as sportsbook partners, a huge population, and the kind of major city centers that could support retail betting operations.

It feels like a major missed opportunity for Texas to not capitalize on the scores and odds that so many of its residents are likely betting on through illegal means or going to other states to place wagers. Another issue in Texas is that the state has only three retail casinos — one each operated by the state’s federally recognized Native American tribes — so there isn’t the kind of casino/betting overlap that exists in places like Nevada.

A Trend-Setter

Dallas is only Texas’ third-biggest city but, as the largest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area — Texas’ most-populous metropolitan area — it serves as a leader for the legalization of North Texas sports betting can have a major impact around the state. Also, as noted by Councilman West, Dallas getting a jump on things over its neighbor cities Fort Worth, Arlington, and Irving would allow the city to see what works and what doesn’t before the rest of the state joins the fray.

Also, there is some belief that Mark Cuban’s sale of his controlling share in the Dallas Mavericks to the Adelson family, which has been heavily involved in casino development in Las Vegas and around the world, could be a sign that a significant push will be made to get Dallas into the sports betting world. Cuban has been a vocal proponent of legalizing sports betting and the Adelsons have an extensive casino background which makes them seem like perfect bed-fellows for making a concerted effort at garnering legalization. They also could put the Mavericks — fresh off an appearance in the NBA Finals — at the center of this attempt.

Online gambling legalization would be a game-changer for Dallas and would allow the Mavericks and Stars to join so many other teams in forming lucrative partnerships with sports betting operators.

The idea here is that once other cities in Texas with teams — even further south in the state, like Houston and San Antonio — see firsthand how much revenue potential there is, they may want to join in with their plans.

For Gambling news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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