Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Strikes Down Sports Betting Bill
After several proposals and even House approval, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick put an end to Texas’ sports betting hopes in 2023.
Patrick took to Twitter on Saturday and put the nail in the coffin: “We don’t waste time on bills without overwhelming GOP support. HB1942 won’t be referred.”
Texas is a red state. Yet the House vote on sports betting was carried by a Dem majority.
The Texas Senate doesn’t pass bills with GOP in the minority. The GOP majority guides our path.
HJR102 also will not be referred.
Can’t waste committee/floor time in the last days. #txlege
— Office of the Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) May 14, 2023
Background on Texas Sports Betting
HJR 102, which seeks to establish a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting, passed the House with a two-thirds majority last week along with its enabling legislation, HB 1942. HJR 155 and HB 2843, the other legislation pining for casino destinations, did not get a vote from the House and won’t get consideration moving forward.
HJR 102 and HB 1942 were sent to the Senate on May 12. If passed by both chambers, it would not legalize sports betting outright, but put it on the November ballot for Texas voters to decide themselves. However, given Patrick’s recent announcement, it does not look like that day will come.
Patrick Demands Republican Majority For Passage of Sports Betting Bill
This is not necessarily a huge surprise though. In March, Patrick was interviewed on a podcast and was candid about these bills not having proper Senate support. It does not look like the bill will last long enough for us to find out if that’s true or not.
In the Senate, there are 31 members, 19 of which are Republicans. For the bill to pass as a constitutional amendment, it needs a two-thirds majority, or 21 votes. In the interview, Patrick said he wanted at least 15-16 of the 21 votes to be Republicans. So, if the Senate’s 12 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and only nine Republicans made up the additional necessary votes, he would not pass the bill. As the president of the Senate, Patrick has the power to do that, and it looks like he just did.
“The Texas Senate doesn’t pass bills with GOP in the minority. The GOP majority guides our path,” he said in a tweet on May 14.
Where Does This Leave Texas Sports Betting?
The legislative session ends on May 29. If the current trajectory is followed, the state won’t get another chance to discuss sports betting until 2025, as the Texas legislature only meets in odd-numbered years.
Even if it does get placement on the 2025 ballot, it won’t be until 2026 at the earliest that it actually materializes into anything. For better or worse, Patrick’s term goes through 2026, so he will be around to see that his wishes get fulfilled.
By then, hopefully the necessary votes are found in the Senate to get this across the finish line without his obstruction.