Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones this week indicated sports betting will be legalized one day in Texas. This comes as sport wagering is soon to be up and running next door in Louisiana.
Jones said on KTCK-AM radio that betting already takes place in the Lone Star State. Legalizing it appears to be only a matter of time, he said.
I certainly know that gambling as it pertains to our games is here. Frankly, it’s been here,” Jones said. “The handwriting’s on the wall. Gambling has been here a long time.”
Any effort in Texas to legalize sports betting could take several years before becoming a reality. Texas is the second-most populous state, behind California.
Earlier this year, bipartisan legislation to legalize sports wagering and casinos failed in the Texas Legislature. Lawmakers won’t meet again at the Capitol in Austin until 2023. Even if legislators approve a sports betting bill, a public vote would then be required under the state constitution. The earliest referendum would be in 2024, meaning legal sports betting would not take place until at least 2025, according to an analysis by the Chicago Tribune.
As Texas attempts to achieve a consensus on sports betting, one of its neighbors, Louisiana, legalized it this summer. However, before anyone can place a bet in the parishes where voters approved it, the Gaming Control Board has to set the rules to regulate the industry. While some hope that happens by football season this fall, others say sports betting won’t be up and running in Louisiana until early next year.
Jones, a 78-year-old former University of Arkansas football player, already has aligned the Cowboys with gambling interests. The team has a deal with the Texas Lottery to put the Cowboys logo on lottery tickets, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have a stake in Boston-based DraftKings, a publicly traded company providing online sports wagering.
Three years ago, the Cowboys formed a partnership with WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The resort is on Interstate 35, just north of the Texas border. Under the partnership, WinStar World can use the Cowboys team name and logo in advertising and marketing, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Cowboys were the first NFL team to enter into a casino partnership.
Tony Romo’s Commentary
Jones said the betting experience would be enhanced with a television analyst such as Tony Romo offering insight. Romo is a former Cowboys quarterback now providing color commentary during CBS pro football broadcasts. He has been praised for his ability to dissect complex gameplay in an understandable way.
“Watch how Romo does a telecast,” Jones told the radio station. “Watch him sit there and say and use the vernacular that he uses, talks about how the safety’s too close to the hash, or how the corner’s too far in the middle or over on the hash. And he’ll say the quarterback will see that and you’ll see the ball going in that direction to that guy right there.”
Jones said he can picture “millions of people” making wagers based on that sort of analysis.
“I can see our game enhanced tremendously by that aspect of it,” Jones said.
The Cowboys open preseason play on Aug. 5 in the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Canton, Ohio. The Cowboys’ regular season begins on Thursday, Sept. 9, in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers.
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