IN THE GAME?

Fred Faour: What the Supreme Court ruling on sports betting means for Texas

Don't expect to see betting shops like this one open in Texas. Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruling on Monday morning to strike down anti-sports wagering laws brought an instant positive reaction for those who are pro-gaming. But what does it really mean?

The Supreme Court struck down a 25-year-old law that has prevented sports gaming outside of Nevada. It basically will allow states to decide whether or not to pass sports gaming laws on their own. Many states have anticipated this ruling for months and have already been in the planning stages.

The NFL, NCAA, NBA and NHL had all blocked the decision at lower levels, but the state of New Jersey prevailed in the country’s highest court. Ironically, as it became clear in recent months the law would pass, commissioners of the major sports began to alter their stances, and in fact now want in on the action in some cases. Expect the leagues to try to get compensation from the individual states.

So what happens next? States that are interested will work to get laws passed before football season so wagering can begin then. That deadline might be stretching it, but New Jersey in particular is pretty far along. States that have not been preparing will take longer.

For those thinking that they will suddenly get legalized sports betting, not every state is going to pursue it. Much like legalized marijuana, sports gambling will not be as widespread at first.

CBS News speculated that 14 states (including Nevada) would be up and running inside of two years, with that number growing to as many as 32 in five years. Profootballtalk speculates between six and 10 could be up and running when the season starts.

As an aside, tt will be interesting to see the impact on tourism in Nevada, which suddenly no longer offers any gaming that will not be readily available elsewhere.

The biggest question locally is what does the ruling mean for Texas? The easy answer is one word: Nothing.

The anti-gambling establishment (or, let’s be honest, the pro-other-state gambling establishment) is too ingrained in the Texas State Legislature to ever get anything done. Casino gaming is not close, and sports betting is farther away than that. The neighboring states’ casinos funnel in tons of money to make sure Texas stays out of the gambling business. Poker rooms found a loophole, and it appears Texans will have to be happy with that, horse and greyhound racing and the lottery.

Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in 2015: “State laws on gaming are to be viewed strictly as prohibitive to any expansion of gambling. This statutory framework is properly intentioned to protect our citizens, and I support it wholeheartedly.”

That is the stance of the anti-gaming contingent, but that hasn’t stopped Texans from spending ridiculous amounts of money in neighboring states. So unless there is a significant culture change, don’t expect sports betting in Texas in the next decade -- or even longer.

The good news is that the CBS speculates that within five years you will be able to go to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas or Louisiana and bet on sports, just like Texans do for casino gaming now. And if you are traveling around the country, you now will have options.

The next few months will be interesting as everyone tries to get in on the action, from states to the sports leagues to individual proprietors. There will be no shortage of fits and starts in getting it up and running. The U.S. has been decades behind Europe when it comes to wagering, and now a multi-billion dollar business is in play, so expect everyone to want to wet their beak. Some states will jump right in, others will wade in, but the good news is that in many states you will be able to legally wager on sports in the next few years.

Just not in Texas.

 

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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