The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 intended to and was supported by college and pro sports to keep sports professional and “pure”. However, following New Jersey’s victory, PASPA was struck down in May 2018, allowing any state to vote to legalize sports betting. States such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana welcomed the opportunity to offer sports betting, with many other states still considering whether to introduce a bill – apart from Utah.
Sports betting legislation poses a problem for twin cities, such as Texarkana, a community that resides in two states, with clashing views on gambling.
For instance, Texas is one of the strictest states in the US on gambling, perhaps even the world. In contrast, Arkansas became the second state to gain voter’s approval to regulate the sports betting industry in November 2018. In the same month, Colorado soon followed, enabling sports betting after voting took place.
However, either state’s decision won’t impact the extent of people who love to gamble. It just means the public will keep traveling to alternate states where sports betting is legal to place bets. Or they will place bets illegally.
This is problematic for states against sports betting because they won’t be able to control betting and protect vulnerable people from illegal gambling. Additionally, they won’t be able to tax sports betting businesses.
With Texarkana, the twin city, on the border of both Texas and Arkansas, its sports betting fate lies in each area’s hands. While Texarkana sports enthusiasts are hopeful, whether their restrictions and rules on sports betting will change remains to be seen. To gain a better picture of Texas and Arkansas’ stance on sports betting, see below.
Texans enjoy multiple sporting events, particularly the NFL and Superbowl. While sports betting isn’t legal here, it’s citizens still get their fill of placing wagers by journeying to a different state or making bets with unofficial bookies.
While there is a large portion of Texan officials, who would rather keep legal gambling to a minimum, some opposing parties, such as Democrat, Lucio III wants to introduce new changes to Texas gambling laws.
Lucio submitted a bill to legalize sports betting in Texas. The bill details sportsbooks companies would apply for a $250,000 permit. Plus, any wagers placed with the sportsbook would be subject to a 6.25% tax charge. The bill is still waiting to be processed; however, it’s unlikely to be accepted in consideration of previous rulings. For example, over the years, Republicans have mostly rejected any bills concerning sports betting and casinos, maintaining a strong stance to keep their legalized gambling opportunities limited to horse and dog, betting, plus bingo and the lottery.
However, research shows Texas is currently missing out on an extensive opportunity to capitalize on Texans’ interest in sports by regulating sports betting and requesting tax.
For instance, Eilers and Krejcik Gaming (a research company for the gaming industry) reveals if Texas permitted sports betting, it would be one of the top states for sports betting. Gaining the second position out of all US states.
With Texas mostly standing firm on their decision over gambling, it’s unlikely Texarkana will be able to begin legally betting on sports in the Texas part of the city anytime soon.
Across the border, there’s a different perspective on sports betting in Arkansas. As a result of voters approving a constitutional amendment, citizens can legally place sports bets in a few of the state’s casinos.
Currently, four locations in Arkansas can legally accept sports bets. The first bet was placed at Oaklawn Racetrack and Casino in July 2019. Just in time for the Superbowl last year, Southland Park, which features greyhound racing, opened a sportsbook. Two other locations are either under construction or trying to settle a legal dispute between local representatives and casino officials. The sites are set to open in Jefferson County and Pope County.
At present, the people of Arkansas and its visitors may experience gambling at the institutions above. However, mobile sports betting is not yet permitted and won’t be for some time.
Sports Betting Advantages
Texas officials are adamant about keeping betting practices to a minimum. However, next door, Arkansas is settled on reaping the benefits the sports betting market will hopefully bring.
Legalizing sports betting presents a plethora of economic advantages for states across America and countries across the world. For instance, in the UK, regulations are set to keep vulnerable players safe by improving fair gaming and encouraging players to gamble safely. In turn, the UK can tax gambling activities and use that money to boost the economy. Plus, by supporting the creation of casinos and online casino providers, there are more local employment opportunities.
Legalizing sports books enable governments to help counteract illegal gambling and a high risk of crime associated with organized crime groups such as the mob.
While states such as Texas are set on not giving sports betting too much attention, they’re arguably neglecting the public’s entertainment needs. Moreover, the criminal activity involving gambling will continue until Texas decides to create laws that govern it. Plus, cities such as Texarkana are torn by different legislation, which may not be sustainable or fair for a shared community to uphold.
In the interest of keeping its citizens safe, it may be worth Texas contemplating permitting sports betting like Arkansas. Or test the waters to gauge the impact, at least, before writing off the idea entirely.
-In Collaboration with TMM