Gambling in Texas: Three bills aim to legalize sports betting and casino resorts

Tom Handy
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Three bills are going through the Texas legislature all aimed to allow sports betting and gambling in the Lone Star State. Agencies pointed out that there is a lot of money to be made by companies and the government if gambling is legalized.

The three bills are:

House Joint Resolution 155 - allows for casino resorts to get created in Texas cities

House Bill 1942 - allows for sports betting in Texas which is already legal in 29 states

House Bill 2843 - allows for sports gambling in Texas

Fort Worth Republican Representative Charlie Geren wrote House Joint Resolution 155.

San Antonio is one of five areas that is considered to have a casino resort.

The bill is looking at these other cities for the casino resorts - Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston, McAllen, and Corpus Christi.

Jeff Leach R- Plano wrote House Bill 1942. He said people are gambling on illegal sports sites in Texas.

Leach said:

“There are hundreds of our constituents, citizens of all ages, including minors, who right now, especially with March Madness, are placing unsafe, unsecure, illegal, criminal bets very easily.”

He added sports betting will not cover youth sports and pro athletes and coaches are not allowed to gamble.

These agencies were in support of the legislation - Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros, and PGA Tour.

Lobbyist Eric Schippers for Penn Entertainment said states from illegal sports betting according to the American Gaming Association lose about $700 million in annual tax revenue.

John Kuempel R-Seguin wrote House Bill 2843 and added the bill creates more jobs and revenue for Texas.

He said:

“It is not the creation of a new Las Vegas Strip and slot machines in gas stations and convenience stores.”

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said the gambling bill doesn't have the votes in the Senate to pass. He, himself is not sold on the bill either.

Director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas Jim Henson told the American-Statesman.

“But I don’t see evidence that they have solved the problem of the lieutenant governor’s lack of interest – at best – in bringing a gambling bill to the floor of the Senate, based on public pronouncements and actual activity in the Senate.”

Governor Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan are open to allowing gambling in Texas but Lieutenant Governor Patrick and others do not see this as a priority at the moment.

Would you like to see legalized gambling in Texas?

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