The Dallas Morning News

Sports Gambling Doesn’t Add Up

Measly 10% take that legislator­s propose for state won’t offset Texans’ losses


The Texas Legislatur­e is getting ever closer to opening up the state to online sports gambling. It’s not a sure thing, and the debate is ongoing. But, as is the case when gambling power brokers come knocking, there is a promise of riches that is becoming ever more tempting to the Legislatur­e.

For politician­s who really do want to spend more money but don’t want to raise taxes, it’s the best game going in Austin.

But when it comes to taking the word of the gaming industry, caveat emptor. The promises rarely add up to the payout.

As Austin bureau reporter Aarón Torres wrote recently, states around the country have not seen revenue projection­s met after they expanded gambling.

Former Gov. Rick Perry, the state’s most prominent gambling lobbyist (if you don’t count the likes of Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones), is touting $250 million a year in tax payments from online sports betting companies.

Let us rephrase that. He is touting $250 million a year in taxes from people who lose sports bets that is then transferre­d through gambling companies to the state of Texas.

As Torres reported, the projection Perry is using “hinges on Texas doubling the record for the highest amount any state has ever seen in gaming revenue.”

Do you want to lay a wager that’s going to happen?

Texas and its people are a huge get for the gambling industry, which is always the real winner in any expanded legalizati­on of betting. The people of the state of Texas won’t fare so well.

“Texans would have to lose almost $3 billion for the state to match the projected tax revenue,” Torres reports.

You can almost hear the bookies salivating about how close Texas is to getting into the online sports gambling game.

Usbets, a website that covers the gambling industry, wrote in February that “Sports betting progress in Texas would send shockwaves throughout the industry. For perspectiv­e, it would provide legal betting access in one fell swoop to more people than the two largest states that currently have regulated markets, Pennsylvan­ia and Illinois, combined.”

If that wasn’t enough, the leading bills currently under considerat­ion in the Texas House are such a gift to the gambling industry it begs the question of whom lawmakers are really representi­ng.

The bills under considerat­ion set the state’s cut at a measly 10%, ensuring that when that money is transferre­d from residents to the state, gambling companies keep a much greater share.

If legislator­s have decided that expanded gambling is the way to go, they might want to raise Texas’ take of the losers’ money. We might well need the funds for expanded social programs.

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