Breaking News
More () »

Sports gambling could be legal in Texas in 2020

There are two bills introduced to Texas legislature to authorize sports betting in Texas

SAN ANTONIO — The men's NCAA basketball tournament kicks off Tuesday, but some fans are already immersed in the madness.

Sports gambling is expected to reach nearly 10 billion dollars this year - making this a bigger event than the Super Bowl for gamblers.

Anthony A. of the Dana Cortez radio show is one fan feeling the excitement as he spends his lunch break filling out a bracket.

"Here's my strategy: first thought only. Don't second guess it. Just look at the names," he explained.

Anthony fills out a bracket every year. He usually plays for bragging rights, but the stakes could be much higher next year, according to sports gambling legal expert Daniel Wallach.

"There are two bills introduced to Texas legislature last month to authorize sports betting in Texas, provided citizens pass a ballot question this upcoming November to allow it," Wallach said.

"You'd need a majority vote for this year's general election. If that were to pass, sports betting could be legal by next year."

Eight states now allow gambling on the NCAA basketball tournament after the Supreme Court's decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting last year. However, if this legislation passes, Texas could join the likes of Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, allowing fans to put their money where their mouths are.

"There's a fear of missing out," explained Wallach. "The reality is, it's taking place anyway - either in the black market or going to other nearby states to bet on those sports."

Wallach said about half the country finds a way to bet on the NCAA men's basketball tournament, from friendly office pools to illegal international sites. However, while some gambling tactics may be illegal, the chances of getting in too much trouble online are slim.

"The law enforcement isn't targeting gamblers, they're targeting those who run those businesses," he said. "If you can get away with it, I guess you're technically violating the law. But I wouldn't expect Uncle Sam to be barging down on your door."

Legalizing the $10 billion industry in the Lone Star State could mean a stronger economy, with some folks hoping the athletes will be able to cash in on the fun, too.

"That's gonna make a lot of money," said Anthony. "Let's figure out a way to get the schools a kickback."

Before You Leave, Check This Out