The House State Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing to tackle several Texas gambling proposals. In addition, lawmakers will consider placing sports betting and casinos on the November general election ballot.
Representative Todd Hunter is the chairman of the committee. He will lead the hearing that will tackle bills from Representative John Kuempel and Representative Charlie Geren to allow casinos in Texas.
According to bookie pay per head reports, House Joint Resolution 155 from Geren proposed allowing casinos in large metropolitan areas, such as Houston, Corpus Christi, McAllen, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Senator Carol Alvarado filed her casino bill in the Senate.
Texas Gambling Proposals
Kuempel’s HB 2843 would regulate commercial casinos, establish the Texas Gaming Commission, and expand the state’s gaming market to include horse racing. According to a political news forum, the three Native American tribes in the state that have federal recognition are also covered by the bill. To compete with commercial casinos, several tribes seek the option to run their casinos on tribal lands under the strictest possible regulation.
Statewide sports betting and a licensing system were the focus of bills proposed by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano). Leach’s two proposals, the amendment and the enabling bill, will be heard by the House State Affairs Committee.
On Friday, the Texas Sports Betting Alliance (TSBA), a leading proponent of sports betting legislation, issued a press release. It claimed that the bills proposed by Kolkhorst and Leach would generate $648.7 million in tax revenue for the State of Texas over the first five years. In addition, the TSBA estimates that the state might collect $180 million annually once the market develops fully.
Of course, if any of these legislations became law, taxes would be collected from casinos and sportsbooks based on their overall gaming income. Also, they will tackle how to open a sportsbook in the state.
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Texas may not ever legalize casino gambling statewide, but apparently, if the casino is owned by a native American tribe, they are considered outside the jurisdiction of the state. I know of at least one such casino operating in Eagle Pass, Texas, as they do some television advertising to attract business from the part of Texas where I live. There may also be others that I am not aware of.