With the state of Texas still on the sports betting sidelines, companies are being creative in their approach to the market. Bet365, a UK-based betting operator, has its eye on the Lone Star State, and this week announced its intentions to launch a free-to-play game in conjunction with the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA.
“Call Your Shot” is a free-to-play game that offers basketball fans the chance to win prizes and NBA experiences. The game launches October 21 via the official Spurs mobile app. “Call Your Shot” will challenge fans on their NBA knowledge in competition against other Spurs fans.
As part of the deal with the NBA team, bet365 will advertise at AT&T Center during Spurs home games and also have a presence on Spurs.com and the team’s social media channels.
What Is bet365 Planning For Texas?
bet365 is operating at retail sportsbook locations in New York and online in New Jersey. The company, which reported handling more than $52 billion in bets globally in 2018, has intentions to expand in the U.S., as gambling is legalized in an increasing number of states. The latest states to launch are Arizona and Connecticut.
The deal with the Spurs marks the first foray for bet365 into Texas, where sports betting is still prohibited as the state legislature wrangles details of a law that will satisfy regulators, the industry, and the state’s citizens.
What Is The Status Of Sports Betting In Texas?
Industry leaders and sports betting proponents have been putting pressure on legislators in Texas for years, and in 2021 they amped up that effort. With more than 28 million people, per the 2020 Census, Texas is the second-largest state, making it a potentially gigantic market for the sports betting industry. It’s one of the most fervent cradles for college sports, especially college football. Yet, despite the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal ban on state authorization of sports betting in 2018, no solid momentum has been made in Texas.
In 2021, responding to efforts from the sports betting and casino industries, Texas lawmakers held hearings on the possibility of passing a bill to legalize gambling in the state. But concerns from conservative leadership halted any progress. As of now, the legislature is not planning to address the issue of sports betting until at least 2023.