Wanna Bet? Texas Legislature Getting Closer to Legalizing Casinos
Gamblers in Texas may soon not have to leave the state to play the slots or do some betting on the Super Bowl.
This also came up for a vote in 2021 but now authors of the bill have more support for it than they did a couple of years ago.
But they still have Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to contend with since he oversees the Texas Senate. But lobbyists have positive vibes coming their way after putting up millions of dollars of campaign contributions for the 2022 election.
The two main lobbyists are the late Sheldon Adelson with his gaming empire Las Vegas Sands and the Texas Sports Betting Alliance that are pushing for "destination resorts" and mobile sports betting respectively.
Then add in former Governor Rick Perry who was hired by the Texas Sports Betting Alliance as their spokesperson.
“What’s changed [since 2021], I think, is the continuing education of the general public that this is not an expansion of gambling,” Perry said in an interview, suggesting that Texans are already participating in this sort of gambling in other states or illegally. “It’s going on, it’s gonna continue to go on and the state of Texas needs to regulate it and make sure that its citizens’ information is protected.”
Other allies for the passage are Governor Greg Abbott and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan who have both expressed openness to expanded gambling in Texas.
An Abbott Spokesperson said in a statement last fall that “if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Governor Abbott would take a look at it.”
“What I don’t want to see is to walk into every convenience store and see 15 slot machines,” Phelan said during a media briefing earlier this month as the session got underway. “I want to see destination-style casinos that are high quality and that create jobs and that improve the lifestyle of those communities.”
I agree that we don't need slot machines in convenience stores but to have a casino in all of the larger cities in Texas would be ideal so we all don't have to travel to Nevada unless we want to.