Proposals To Extend Gambling Access In Texas Have Passed The Texas House Committee

The two primary bills to increase gambling in Texas were advanced by a House committee on Monday, providing them a boost of momentum despite the Senate’s continued resistance.

The movement is a step forward from the plans put out during the previous legislative session, which had committee hearings but were never adopted. For the past two sessions in a row, proponents of gambling, including the casino conglomerate Las Vegas Sands, have been eyeing Texas as their newest frontier.

On Monday afternoon, the House State Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill that would allow Texas citizens decide whether to establish casinos and online sports betting. Republicans made up the opposition and the votes were all 9-3.

Yet there is still a long way to go with the legislation. The Texas Constitution would need to be amended, which would need two-thirds majorities in both chambers. The Senate has shown that they have little interest in the bills, so that appears less and less plausible.

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The possibility of expanding gaming in Texas has long been shot down by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, the able Senate presiding officer. In more recent media interviews, he has remained steadfast, adamantly asserting that neither option has the GOP support in the Senate that he wishes to see.

If voters agree, House Bill 1942 and House Bill 2843 would make it legal to bet on sports online, even on mobile devices. The casino measure would also permit sports betting.

Without debating its content, the committee members decided on a “committee substitute,” a reworked version of the casino law. The updated bill wasn’t immediately accessible to the general public.

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