Texas Governor Abbott says no to state-run sports betting
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered state lottery officials to stop exploring the possibility of legalizing sports betting.
This comes in direct contrast to states like New Jersey who are hot on the trail of legal sports betting in their backyard. Sportsbook Review interviewed NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak last month on legal sports betting.
Last month Gary Grief, executive director at the Texas Lottery Commission, wrote Delaware Lotto official Vernon Kirk, saying he was impressed with Delaware's record in bringing in revenue through sports betting and internet wagering. Grief asked to learn more with a view to generating extra income for Texas by expanding into these areas of gambling. Conservative lawmakers and state leaders in Austin reacted with dismay, and Abbott has now taken decisive action.
In a letter to Grief’s boss, Texas Lottery Commission chairman J. Winston Krause, the Texas Governor warned that all state lottery officials must scrap this line of inquiry.
He said he must show “direction on prohibiting” Krause’s staff from sourcing information about the success of sports betting and online wagering in other states. Abbott said he “wholeheartedly” supports state laws that strictly prohibit expansion into other forms of gaming.
“Please ensure this intent and direction is strictly enforced among the staff of the Texas Lottery Commission,” Abbott told Krause in the letter, published at Scribd.com.). “Please also notify the executive director and staff that any request to travel to gather information about gaming opportunities that are prohibited in Texas should be denied.”
Grief was also planning to visit Montana and learn more about sports wagering there in a bid to arm the Texas legislature with a wealth of information about the amount of money the state could generate by expanding gambling.
Texas is not the only state looking to raise much-needed revenue by expanding gambling. Michigan is considering legal sports wagering to fix the states crumbling roads, Pennsylvania is mulling over whether to expand slots into airports and off-track betting parlors to fill a giant hole in the Governor’s budget and Illinois is trying to bring video gambling machines into bars to whip up more cash for the state’s stretched education system.
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