Texas Considers Sports Betting and Casino Bills While Virginia Looks to Raise Licensing Cap

  • HB 477 would legalize commercial casinos in Texas
  • HB 1121 seeks to authorize online sports betting in the Lone Star State
  • Legislation in Virginia would increase the number of sports betting licenses available
Legislation file folder
Texas and Virginia are both considering new legislation that would expand the availability of gambling activity in each state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New legislation introduced

Two more states have already introduced gambling legislation in this young year. In Texas, a sports betting bill and a casino bill are on the table, while in Virginia, lawmakers are looking to remove a cap on sports betting licenses.

Texas is one of the most conservative states in the U.S. when it comes to gambling, so the passage of this legislation would be a significant change for the state. The Virginia bill would allow the sports betting industry to grow much larger than initially anticipated.

Texas sports betting and casino bills

This month, Texas lawmakers introduced two bills to create a much larger gambling environment. The first, HB 477, was from Representative Joe Deshotel to legalize commercial casinos in specific areas along the coast.

Revenues from the casinos would go toward insurance coverage for flooding and windstorms. This type of weather is a major issue in the coastal portions of the state.

Representative Harold Dutton introduced HB 1121, which would legalize online sports betting. The measure is only for online wagering because Texas does not have commercial casinos, typically where brick-and-mortar sportsbooks would be located. The bill calls for a 6.25% tax rate.

Texas is home to a few casinos operated by Native American tribes. The state also offers lottery and horse racetracks.

aim to keep gambling funds in the state

The two new bills aim to keep gambling funds in the state. Neighboring Louisiana and Oklahoma tend to pull in revenues from Texas residents as they travel across the border to casinos.

More license potential in Virginia

Though plans are underway to launch sports betting in Virginia very soon, legislation has been filed in the General Assembly to see the industry grow even bigger. The proposed bill would increase the number of sports betting licenses up for grabs.

HB 1847 would not remove the current cap on licensing, but would instead change the language in the law regarding locations and entities that count toward the licensing cap. Currently, state law limits casino licenses to a total of 12.

Essentially, there are 14 licenses on offer, but one must go to the NFL’s Washington Football Team and one to the MLS team D.C. United.

If the measure passes, it would make four more permits available. This would apply to casinos as well as any professional sports team that plays at least five of its regular season games in Virginia or is headquartered in the state.

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