Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Pushing For Legal Sports Betting As Spokesman For Sportsbooks, Pro Teams Coalition

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry Pushing For Legal Sports Betting As Spokesman For Sportsbooks, Pro Teams Coalition

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for the legalization of sports betting in the state. Perry has now become a spokesman for the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, a coalition of sports teams betting platforms pushing for regulated sports wagering.

Perry, who said he once opposed the idea, now supports legal sports gaming in the Lone Star State. “We’re going to have people betting on sporting events in the State of Texas, and you know what I think. That’s okay. But it needs to be regulated,” he said, as reported by CBSDFW.COM. “There needs to be oversight.”

According to the former Governor, oversight could protect consumers’ information from black market operators. While sports betting is currently legal in more than 30 U.S. states, Texas is not among them, despite ongoing efforts.

A bill to legalize online sports wagering is being developed for the upcoming legislative session starting in January. The bill introduced during the last legislative session never passed and with its author, Rep. Dan Huberty, now retired, the alliance is in talks with other lawmakers.

The Texas Sports Betting Alliance comprises a number of gaming platforms and the state’s pro sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks, FC Dallas, and the Texas Rangers. Proponents claim that once passed and fully developed, Texas’ sports betting market could collect up to $550 million dollars for a two-year budget cycle by taxing winnings.

For regulated sports betting to become law, the Texas Constitution needs to be changed, meaning a majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate need to approve it before leaving it to the voters to decide. “If they’re wise enough to place their faith in you with a vote for you, I think we should trust them to make the decision about this issue,” Perry said about lawmakers.

In a statement, Perry also said that, if approved, Texas would need to put in proper controls to make sure sports gambling is secure. While the former Governor is speaking on behalf of the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, he said he is not lobbying for the organization, adds CBSDFW.COM.

“The legalization of mobile sports betting in Texas would mean implementing smart and efficient oversight to preserve the integrity of sporting events,” added Perry, as reported by KRLD. “It would also empower Texans to safely participate in mobile sports betting and fight illegal gambling.”

“This is a way to regulate and to make legal this activity that is going to go on. The idea that somehow people are going to stop betting on sports is a bit of a fallacy. Well, it is just not going to happen,” the former Governor further stated.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Perry served as governor from 2000-2015. Current Gov. Greg Abbott has been reluctant in the past to defy religious conservatives opposed to expanded gambling, but has now indicated he’s open to casino gambling, the Houston Chronicle reported last month.

Abbott is under intense pressure to consider jobs and new tax revenue that the liberalization of Texas’ strict wagering laws could produce. However, any effort to that end is expected to face rejection from organizations such as the Christian Life Commission, which have successfully lobbied against gambling legislation in previous sessions.