During the first weekend of March Madness (March 14-17), more than 11,000 Texans attempted more than 70,000 sports betting transactions on legal sportsbook apps in neighboring states. All were blocked.
GeoComply, the leading location-services company in the gaming industry, published this data after the first two rounds of the tournament, concluding that many Texans want to bet on sports and want to do so legally.
Louisiana the target for most of Texas’ blocked sports betting transactions
During the 2022 NFL season, Louisiana online sportsbooks were the target for most Texans’ blocked transactions. In similar proportions, GeoComply identified that during the first two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, 35% of all geolocation checks were sent to Louisiana sportsbook apps.
Heat map data shows the major metropolitan areas in the state, led by Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, attempting the vast majority of these blocked transactions. While it doesn’t indicate which Texas regions attempted to place their bets in which legal markets, previous geodata from the NFL season showed that thousands of east Texans attempted to access Louisiana and Arkansas apps first from within Texas and then after crossing the border into those states.
Will Texas’ March Madness success spur more blocked transactions?
As the second week of March Madness kicks off with two Texas teams (the Longhorns and Cougars) in a good position to advance deeper in the tournament, how will this influence the amount of sports wagers attempted through other states’ sportsbook apps?
The sheer drop in the number of games from one week to the next could easily pull the total amount of blocked transactions down despite good odds to advance for Texas teams.
Houston and UT continue their runs Friday. Houston has the early game (6:15 p.m.), while UT plays late (8:45 p.m.).
Where does Texas online sports betting stand
The Texas House State Affairs Committee has heard arguments on Texas online sports wagering legislation, leaving current draft legislation pending to consider amendments and clarify committee concerns.
The Texas Senate has referred similar legislation to the Senate State Affairs Committee, where it awaits a hearing. The House and Senate bills require constitutional amendments, necessitating two-thirds majorities in both chambers before being placed on the November 2023 ballot.
Should a Texas sports betting law receive Texas voters’ approval, bettors in the Lone Star State will be looking at a year at least before online sports betting launches in Texas.