Many Texas lawmakers want legalized casinos and sports betting. Many Texas residents want them, as well, according to a number of studies. However, the Lone Star State’s governor doesn’t believe any of their opinions matter and he, along with his lieutenant governor, have repeatedly said they would shoot down any legalization efforts. This isn’t stopping lawmakers from trying again.
Texas Lawmakers Continue Casino Fight
Senator Carol Alvarado has been a driving force behind this push in Texas for over ten years. She believes that permitting casino gambling would create jobs and generate significant revenue for Texas.
Alvarado spoke to local media about Texas’ love for gambling and how she believes that the majority of voters will support expansion. In 2009, she filed the first legislation in order to put the matter to a public vote. Because a constitutional amendment is required to allow casino gambling to be legalized, a public vote would be required.
Last year, Representative John Kuempel filed the same legislation in the House. He said that many people from Texas cross the border to gamble in other states. He stated that he thought we would keep the money at home and use it for infrastructure, property tax relief, public education, and other things.
Not everyone On Board
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has been supporting Texas’ push for expansion of gambling in Texas by hiring lobbyists, running advertising campaigns, and supporting lobbyists. The bills that preceded them sought to develop four casinos. They would have been located in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio as well as Dallas/Fort Worth.
Despite all these efforts, none of the resolutions have made it to the Senate or House floors for a vote. Many legislators who oppose gambling expansion feel that it would have a negative impact on the communities. However, none has produced evidence of this from states that have expanded their gambling markets.
LVS remains optimistic about the possibility of positive changes. Rob Goldstein, CEO, and chairman of the company spoke to investors during a quarterly call. He stated that the company will be ready for Texas if there is casino gambling. According to a spokesperson for Las Vegas Sands, the company is committed to discussing the possibility of Texas casino gaming with Texas stakeholders.
The effort is being continued by a group of state-based sportsbook operators and the major professional sports teams. The Sports Betting Alliance intends to meet with legislators before the start of the next legislative session. However, that won’t be until January 2023.
It’s a known fact that gambling is taking place, even if it isn’t legal. That means Texas is losing millions of dollars that could be used to shore up the economy. It also means that there are plenty of gamblers who don’t have access to responsible gambling initiatives. As long as Texas leaders’ mentality stays in the 19th Century, this won’t change. Fortunately, elections are coming this year and, perhaps, something will change.