It’s not a question of if, but a question of when. That’s the assertion of Jerry Jones, the owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, when asked about the future of sports betting in Texas. Although a small handful of lawmakers have thwarted efforts to legalize the activity this year, Jones remains confident that sports betting is coming and asserts that “the handwriting’s on the wall.”
Texas Sports Betting Proves Difficult
Jones spoke with a local radio station yesterday, Sportsradio 96.7 FM, about his take on sports betting in the Lone Star State and what he predicts is going to happen. The conversation took place not long after a bill to legalize sports betting in Texas died at the hands of a few lawmakers. However, Jones thinks this was just a minor setback and remains optimistic that the state will, at some point, change its stance. He said during the interview, “I certainly know that gambling as it pertains to our games is here. Frankly, it’s been here. Yes, I do [see gambling being a common thing].”
Jones is part of the Sports Betting Alliance, which has participation from other Texas sports teams, as well. The Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, the Texas Rangers of MLB, the Cowboys and several other teams are pushing lawmakers to back away from their misguided efforts to keep legalized sports betting out of the state. According to the Dallas Morning News, they support legislation that would allow voters to determine the activity’s fate and, based on recent polls, the general public is strongly in favor of allowing it.
Everyone already knows that sports betting is taking place across the US, even in jurisdictions where it isn’t legal. Legalizing it allows the state to capture the revenue and introduce protections that it currently cannot offer. Adds Dallas Cowboys Executive VP and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones, “Unregulated and illegal sports gambling is already taking place in the State of Texas. Legalized sports betting would regulate the industry and generate hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue for the state which will help fund critical programs without raising taxes.”
Jones Believes in Gambling
Gambling isn’t any more evil than money – it’s only when it’s used incorrectly that it becomes evil. Not regulating it is the same as lawmakers acknowledging that they’re not opposed to illegal activity taking place in their domains. Jones has long supported the idea of legalized gambling, recognizing the benefits the activity can bring. Through the Cowboys, he was one of the first NFL teams to establish a branding deal for the Texas Lottery (which, in case lawmakers were confused, is gambling) and is a minority owner of DraftKings.
In addition to the link to sports betting, the Cowboys and Jones also have ties to the casino industry. Legends Hospitality, a company owned by Jones, has been involved in an effort to bring a casino to Pope County, Arkansas. While that initiative has faced significant difficulty, the Cowboys are also tied to the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. That casino is the official casino partner of the Cowboys, becoming the first one to ever partner with an NFL team.
Still, despite all of the efforts and attempts, and even a major investment from Las Vegas Sands, Texas lawmakers still refuse to accept the future. Although they’re elected to respond to the wishes of their constituents, Texas lawmakers prefer to set their own agenda and ignore what those that put them in positions of power want. Hopefully, Jones and the other sports betting supporters can get them to see that they’re placing a losing bet.