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Sen. Perry says odds are against sports gambling in Texas

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LUBBOCK, Texas – After the Supreme Court passed legislation on Monday allowing states to decide if they will legalize sports gambling, heads turned toward Texas to see what lawmakers will do.

Sen. Charles Perry, District 28 for Texas (R), believes it was the right ruling to give states the authority to make their own decisions but does not foresee Texas passing any law for it.

“We just don’t have an appetite for the business of the lottery and those things, Democrat or Republican,” said Perry.

While passing the legislation would increase tax revenue, Perry worried it would carry social baggage.

“It’s one more vice that takes money from those who can least afford to put it somewhere else other than family, kids, education, cars, trying to survive,” said Perry. 

If Texas passed a law in favor of sports gambling, it will come with a price.

“If Texas does it, the taxes on it will be cost prohibitive. It’s going to be like sin tax, tobacco tax,” he said.

Texas businesses would make a large profit from sports betting, said Matt Huml, assistant professor of sports management at Texas Tech University.

“The business side is going to mean exponential growth. I mean gambling, we are talking about billions and billions of dollars in profit,” he said.

While people participate in illegal gambling, commercializing it would allow businesses to profit and the government to reap the tax benefit, Huml said.

Huml believes it will not be as difficult to regulate professional-level sports compared to the collegiate level.

“Now obviously you aren’t going to have bets on every single game. But even at the D1 level, Texas Tech sports, Big 12 sports, there’s potentially going to be people that want to bet on those games, and so you need to monitor as many of those situations as you can,” he said.

Another issue that could be exacerbated by legalizing sports gambling: “Athletes performing poorly on purpose to swing gambling,” he said. 

Senators will address the issue in January when session comes to order.

A representative from Texas Tech Athletics said they will not have any discussion regarding the matter until the state makes any decisions. The Supreme Court decision has not yet affected the department, they said.

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