Texas Governor Stands In The Way Of Legal Sports Betting

It feels like most want legalized sports betting in Texas — the sportsbook operators, of course, but so too the Texan sports fans. However, those opinions pale in comparison to one man, Dan Patrick.

Who is Patrick? It’s not the sports commentator you’re probably thinking of, formerly on ESPN and now of the Dan Patrick Show. No, the Patrick we’re talking about is the lieutenant governor of the state of Texas. As the number two position in the state’s politics (behind only the regular governor), Patrick swings a lot of power.

But according to Dallas Stars president Brad Albert, Patrick’s power is being used to NOT legalize sports betting. Albert recently came out and said Patrick is heavily against legalization. Albert’s comments are timely because his NHL franchise was just eliminated from a deep playoff run, which surely would’ve helped surge betting in the state IF it were legal. Let’s analyze Albert’s comments more in-depth though.

Senate Opposition Is Hold Up In Texas

It’s not that Texas lawmakers haven’t tried to push bills that include sports betting. They have, and multiple times over the years too. Several of these bills even passed the House. However, those successful ones were quickly killed in the Senate. Without that Senate approval, the bill can never get to the governor for signing.

This is no coincidence. You see, as lieutenant governor, Patrick controls the Texas Senate. Anything he doesn’t want, like sports betting, isn’t going to have any traction with him in position.

Can Patrick change his mind? Sure — politicians are famous flip-floppers. However, up to this point, everything Patrick has said is staunchly anti-sports betting. On multiple occasions, Patrick has stated he does not want to expand sports betting in Texas. No ifs, ands, and buts about it.

If there’s one saving grace it might be Patrick’s age. He’s 74 years old so you’d think his time left in office is limited. But at the same time, we’re seeing more and more politicians overstay their welcome in positions of power. In that case, Patrick’s age may or may not it matter.

Texas Opposition Is Par For The Course In Southwest

Texas is very much part of the American South. The South is known for a few things — family, football, and good ‘ol conservative values. Perhaps it’s the latter why the region as a whole is so resistant to sports betting.

Get this, 38 states (and Washington DC) have now legalized sports betting. All this in a six-year span since the federal ban was removed. But the states still holding out are largely in the South. Here are the Southern states that still have a ban on betting besides Texas:

Alabama: Like Texas, betting bills in Bama can never get past the Senate. Roll Tide, we guess?

Georgia: Georgia killed a proposed bill for betting in 2024. Unlike other regional states, Georgia is increasingly becoming more “blue” than “red” politically, but even then, sports betting has struggled to get pushed through.

Oklahoma: Texas’s northern neighbor and rival football competitor, Oklahoma, does have legal betting — casino though, not sports. Oklahoma City is famous for its native-based casinos, but up to this point, none of them have pushed for legalized sports betting. If they ever do, it’ll likely be reserved for just them and not other operators like DraftKings.

South Carolina: Ever since North Carolina launched legal sports betting earlier this year, there’s been optimism that South Carolina would follow. However, nothing has manifested yet. The state hasn’t had a sports betting bill since 2022 so all eyes are ahead to 2025.

Outside of the South, these other states still have sports betting banned — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Minnesota, and Utah. So if you do the numbers, five of the 12 non-sports-bet states are in the South, barely missing the halfway mark. Hey, at least the South has stuck to its moral values, something you can’t say about most places these days.

Texas Bettors Have Other Options To Bet

As you just read, the chances of Texas changing course are pretty slim. If you find yourself inside the state with an itch to bet, you’re most likely better off using “alternative” betting methods. By alternative, we’re talking offshore betting.

Here are five bookies where Texans bettors CAN bet online. These five sites are the highest rated in our latest sportsbook reviews:

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You might be wondering, “but wait, how is this legal?” Well, that’s because offshore bookies don’t have to abide by Texas or even US rules due to their offshore operations. Bettors using the sites effectively skirt around local rules and can gamble worry-free. For the foreseeable future, the only ways Texas bettors can be online is through offshore betting platforms.

The only thing Texas bettors should be worrying about is who they’re betting in the NBA Finals. Its native team, the Dallas Mavericks, face an uphill battle against the Boston Celtics but it ain’t over til it’s over. Click one of the links on the table above to get fast-tracked into betting the Finals at one of our suggested sportsbooks.

Eric Uribe

Eric was born and raised in Nevada — the center of gambling in the United States. Throw in his natural interest in sports, and Eric was destined to be a sports bettor. This came to a head once Eric turned 21. Already a working sports journalist while in college, Eric began betting at his local sportsbook. Despite massive losses (at first), Eric continued to chip away at wagering. Eventually, he got half-decent at it. Now Eric is a trusted betting analyst. Not only is he skilled at making picks, but also breaking down the state of the industry — legalization, revenue, and innovation. You can read Eric's writings exclusively on OSB.