Hold Your Horses, Texas: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Says Sports Betting Is A Long Shot

Written By Matthew Kredell on February 9, 2021 - Last Updated on February 10, 2023

Lt. Gov Dan Patrick reined in optimism for Texas to legalize sports betting in a radio interview Tuesday.

Patrick scoffed at reports that he wouldn’t stand in the way of a sports betting bill on the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO radio in Lubbock.

“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session.”

The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that the Dallas Cowboys and Mavericks were leading a coalition backing draft legislation to legalize sports wagering. With no casinos in the state, the sports teams themselves and racetracks would partner with sports betting operators.

However, Patrick asserted that support for legal sports betting isn’t there in the Texas legislature.

Sports betting revenue not a motivating factor

Patrick told the radio station that Texas isn’t interested in the revenue sports wagering could generate for the state.

He’s heard from lobbyists for the sports teams that the total could reach $150 million a year. But Texas has an annual budget of $125 billion.

“That’s a lot of money but it pays for about half a day out of our year,” Patrick said.

Not even the $700 million projected from allowing casinos in Texas moves the needle for him. He calls that three days of funding.

Senate support lacking according to Lt. Gov

There’s one sports betting bill filed and the team-supported one on the way in the Texas House.

However, Patrick doubts there will be a bill filed in the Senate.

He doesn’t think there’s enough Republican support in either chamber to amend the constitution to allow for sports betting.

Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds vote in the Texas House and Senate. That means 21 of 31 votes in the House and 100 of 150 in the Senate. Then it must go in front of voters for a majority vote.

Patrick added that he has never been in favor of legalizing sports wagering.

“I don’t spend much time on it because the members are just against it. The governor doesn’t spend any time on it. You haven’t heard him speak about it, you haven’t heard the speaker speak about it or me. We don’t deal in hypotheticals.”

Photo by AP / Eric Gay
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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