Exciting news from Texas! Proposals to allow casinos and online sports betting recently passed the House State Affairs Committee, raising hopes that gambling may soon be available in the state.
For the previous two legislative sessions, proponents of the gambling industry, notably the famous Las Vegas Sands casino company, have been lobbying for Texas to be the site of their next major project. In contrast to the plans from the previous year, which barely reached the level of having committees hear them, the proposals from this year are already off to a more encouraging start.
House Bill 2843 would allow casino gambling in Texas, while House Bill 1942 would do the same for online sports betting. Both measures were recently approved to be moved forward without any debate taking place in the House committee that was responsible for them.
Is This It?
The recent development is indeed monumental but the road ahead is not without obstacles. To make gambling legal in Texas would need an amendment to the state’s constitution, which in turn would call for a vote passed with a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Sadly, the Senate has been giving mixed signals about whether it would support these bills.
In large part, the hesitation of the Senate may be attributed to the popular Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who has made it clear on several occasions that he is opposed to the expansion of gaming in the state of Texas. He has recently said publicly that he does not think either option has enough GOP support in the Senate to succeed.
Las Vegas Sands, one of the most notable proponents of gambling expansion in Texas, is not going to give up easily, whatever the obstacles it may face. Since 2020, the corporation has spent millions of dollars on lobbying, television advertisements, and political donations in the state of Texas. A representative for the Sands’ lobbying campaign, Matt Hirsch, claims that the latest decision is a major step in the right direction for the resort.
Proponents of the measures claim that legalized gambling in Texas would bring in substantial tax money and provide the state’s economy a much-needed boost. As expected, critics worry that more access to gaming would lead to a rise in gambling addiction and other social problems. This is, of course, a universal concern that will certainly have to be addressed.
There are a lot of good things in the pipeline but does this mean Texas will join the ranks of states that allow gambling? It is still too soon to tell, but we will be keeping a careful watch on any progress. Watch this space!