The Democrat representative for Texas, Beto O’Rourke, has said that if elected as Governor, he’ll be inclined to support the expansion of casino gambling and legal sports betting in Texas. This is the first time he’s publicly addressed the issue.
During a press conference, O’Rourke commented that Texans are already crossing state lines for casino gambling and sports betting so there is the potential for billions of dollars worth of revenue that’s currently going to other states.
O’Rourke added: “From listening to Texans across the state, it’s one, a very popular proposal, and two, it would also help us address some of the challenges we have in reducing inflation and property taxes in the state. So I think that warrants a very close look and it’s something I’m inclined to support.”
In pursuit of further state revenue, there has been mention by O’Rourke of legalising marijuana. Combining this with the additional money from gambling would reduce the state’s reliance on property tax to fund the government.
However, at present, Texas holds Republican legislature that does not give much consideration to the potential for casino gambling. In fact, the Texas Constitution prohibits any expansion to gambling, a provision that the current Governor, Greg Abbott has supported in the past. In addition, the Texas Republican Party’s platform specifically clarifies its objection to any expansion of gambling. It quotes: “We oppose and call for a veto of any budget that relies on expansion of legalised gambling as a method of finance.”
In order to make the change, casino backers require two-thirds of the House and Senate to agree with adding the measure to a ballot. And prior to the 2021 Texas legislative discussions, casino companies made it clear how important Texas is for them as an industry.
Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands Corp Senior Vice President of Government Relations said: “Texas is considered the biggest plum still waiting to be out there in the history of hospitality and gaming.”
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