Voters in Texas are rallying to back gambling expansion in a state that is dominated by Republicans who oppose the matter. New bipartisan legislation is now coming forward to try and change that.
Bipartisan Push for Gambling Expansion to Determine State Industry’s Future
Texas is looking at regulating casino and sports betting gambling with two state lawmakers now spearheading bipartisan legislation on the matter. Rep. John Kuempel and Sen. Carol Alvarado have decided to pool efforts and bring Texas closer to regulated sports wagering in a plan that involves private stakeholders and the state’s federal Native American tribes.
That would effectively change a dated stature that makes Texas one of the few states to actually ban gambling rights on tribal land. To pass, the bills put forward by the legislators would need at least two-thirds of the votes to make sure they get rid of a ban that was written in the Texas Constitution.
Pushing a bill backed by a representative and senator is one of the ways to give the issue the most awareness possible, with either bill holding the potential to lead to gambling expansion. Texas is historically one of the few hold-outs in the country that takes a dim view of gambling.
Now, though, Alvaro is finally making an argument that has been echoing for years but is not lessening, with a new serious forum where it can be heard.
“Texas loses billions of dollars a year to our neighboring states that allow gaming, and this measure would bring that revenue back to Texas,” Alvarado’s argument runs.
Big Names Rear Their Heads in the Gambling Arena
But this is hardly the only reason why Texas is losing tax dollars that would have been otherwise going to the state coffers. Illegal gambling operations are just as harmful, and offshore websites target Texas indiscriminately of any regulations, laws, and restrictions.
Besides, Texas is finally shaping up as a tasty bite for many companies out there, and not least Las Vegas Sands, which has confirmed its interest in the state and said that it would seek to potentially build a casino resort.
Sands CEO Rob Goldstein, who succeeded the late Sheldon Adelson at the helm of the company, has confirmed that the company is hoping to see the state get rid of the ban. Speaking to the Dallas Press, he had this to add:
“Our commitment is to develop transformational destination resorts that create tens of thousands of jobs and produce billions in revenue for the state while also providing robust economic benefits to the local host communities.”
LVS CEO Rob Goldstein
However, there are many hurdles on the road to progress, and one of them is a Republican-dominated legislature. Republicans in Texas have opposed the legalization of any gambling activities for years now, and this is unlikely to change.
Apart from greyhound races, the state lottery, and bingo, there are no other gambling activities permissible in the state, and even those are looked down upon. Yet, residents seem to think otherwise, with the majority of Texans giving their “aye” for the legalization of gambling in the state.
Nevertheless, the efforts to see the measure through are gathering momentum. In fact, sports franchises and companies are coming together to see the matter through, although they can do little to change legislators’ minds.
The way to go here is to have the general public build a critical momentum that allows pushing the issue through as a refusal would mean sacrificing too much political capital for a fairly low-priority issue. Yet, the biggest argument in favor, though, is that gambling is already happening only without the state’s blessing.
Not Everyone Is Happy with Legalization Pitches
Not everyone agrees that this is the case, though, and Gov. Greg Abbot and House Speaker Dade Phelan have spoken strongly against any move that would legalize the industry beyond what is already allowed in the state.
In the meantime, Andy Abboud, SVP for government affairs at Las Vegas Sands, said that Dallas would be the primary focus on any project the company may endeavor in Texas. The truth is Las Vegas Sands is not the only party interested in seeing the issue through.
The Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers are all strong supporters of legalizing the sports gambling industry, and they seem to agree with the current outlines put forward by legislators.
The road to legalizing sports betting and casino gambling in Texas is long and sinuous, but the good news is that public support is now going to force politicians to look at the issue closely and possibly seek a compromise.