Former Gov Perry reasserts support for Texas sports betting vote in 2025

Rick Perry
Image: Shutterstock

Former Governor Rick Perry has reinforced his continued backing of Texas sports betting legislation, asserting that the electorate deserves the opportunity to vote on the legalization of wagering in the Lone Star State. 

Texas’ sports betting efforts failed this year after Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick pushed the cause by the wayside in the Senate, noting that Republicans would never progress with Democratic-pushed legislation.

Whilst such party-political bickering is seemingly omnipresent in an increasingly divided US, Patrick’s intervention was particularly unwelcome by many given that Texas sports betting made its most significant progress this year. 

HJR102, the measure to legalize sports betting in Texas, gained just over the 100 votes needed in the House to progress to the Senate, yet Republicans are assertive in their reluctance to proceed with a Democratic majority-backed bill. 

Nevertheless, the progress has only made proponents of sports betting in Texas even more intent to fulfill their aim in 2025, the next year that the Texas legislature will meet. 

Speaking via the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, Perry explained that Texans should be allowed to have the choice when it comes to gambling expansion within the state. 

He remarked in an SBA announcement: “We know that Texans want the freedom and liberty that our great state is known for, to participate in sports betting legally and safely. We listened to the people and put forth legislation that would combat the $6bn illegal market with common sense regulation and protect Texans without growing the size and scope of government.

“Texans deserve the chance to vote on legalizing sports betting and we will continue working to put this initiative on the ballot in 2025.”

Polling conducted at the beginning of 2023 by the University of Houston indicated that there is significant public support for gambling expansion within Texas. 75% of the 1,200 people surveyed in a sampling representative of the state’s population backed increased wagering options.

Despite this public support and incremental progress in 2023, Patrick remains intent that sports betting would not pass in Texas whilst he is in post. 

Patrick was reelected in 2022 after defeating the Democratic nominee Mike Collier, winning 53.8% of the votes. 

His current term expires in 2026, after the next legislative session in which sports betting will undoubtedly be back on the agenda, and Patrick has indicated to local press that he will indeed seek a third reelection, casting doubt on sports wagering’s progress. 

Yet, Perry remains optimistic about 2025 and was “encouraged” by the progress made this year, despite the unsuccessful attempt.

He added: “We are thankful for and encouraged by the months of thoughtful policy discussion on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers this legislative session to bring a legal mobile sports betting market to Texans. 

“Because of the tireless work of our bill authors, Representative Leach and Senator Lois Kolkhorst, Texas made history when mobile sports betting legislation was overwhelmingly approved in a House vote of 101-42.”