Rush Street Gains Access To Texas, But Fruits Of Online Gambling Labor Are Far Off

Written By Martin Harris on February 24, 2021 - Last Updated on March 11, 2021

Rush Street Interactive, Inc. powers online casinos and sportsbooks in several states. And now Texas has come into the company’s crosshairs.

That is if the Lone Star State ever legalizes online gambling.

Earlier this week, Rush Street Interactive announced a new partnership with casino operator Penn National Gaming. The agreement opens the door for Rush Street to potentially power new online casinos and sportsbooks in multiple states once they legalize online gambling.

Among the states included in the deal for Rush Street would be Texas, should the state’s lawmakers ever pass such legislation.

Agreement covers several states, including Texas

Monday’s announcement primarily highlights other states where Penn National Gaming operates casinos, including Maryland, Missouri and Ohio. For its effort, Penn National would also gain market access to New York, where Rush Street has an entry point.

The 20-year-agreement affords Rush Street the chance to offer its platform through “potential second skins” in those three states. Maryland has approved online sports betting, although lawmakers still need to agree upon details of how it will work. Meanwhile, Missouri and Ohio have yet to reach the milestone of legalization.

If those states eventually reach a point where casinos are allowed multiple online skins, Rush Street would be in position to power a second skin through a Penn National land-based property.

As noted, the announcement also mentions how the agreement could pave the way for Rush Street Interactive to operate in Texas.

Specifically, the deal gives Rush Street “a right of first offer for a potential skin in Texas through Penn National.” Again, though, such an offer would be “subject to, among other things, state law and regulatory approvals.”

Texans shouldn’t expect to bet online anytime soon

Texas has no commercial casinos. However, Penn National does operate the Sam Houston Race Park.

Should lawmakers pass legislation enabling the state’s race tracks to launch online sportsbooks or casinos, and should Penn National choose to pursue a license, Rush Street could step in and assume operations of a mobile betting platform in the state.

Those are a lot of variables, of course. First off, the status of legalizing some form of online gambling in Texas is not especially promising.

One online-only sports betting bill has already been filed this legislative session in the state House. The bill would let the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation issue, at most, five sports betting licenses in the state.

Another sports betting bill supported by professional sports teams in the state has also been drafted.

However, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it clear in a recent radio interview that he doesn’t support any sports betting legislation. Patrick further noted that he doubted any Senate bills were forthcoming, either.

In addition to most lawmakers’ lack of interest in pursuing sports betting, last week’s devastating winter storm affecting the state has obviously given government officials much more urgent matters to occupy their attention.

Probably good, then, that the Rush Street Interactive-Penn National agreement is for 20 years. Regarding Texas, though, it is safe to say Rush Street is in no rush.

Photo by AP / Eric Christian Smith
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