Texas gaming prospects face steep challenges in upcoming session

Updated June 9, 2024
Updated June 9, 2024By Chris Boline
texas betting news june 2024

The battle for legalizing gaming in Texas is one that has plenty of high stakes and rewards but also some tough hurdles to cross for pro-gaming lawmakers. For example, in a recent report, efforts to legalize casino gambling in Texas appear to face even steeper challenges in the upcoming legislative session. In 2023, the Texas House narrowly missed the required votes to advance a constitutional amendment allowing the establishment of eight destination resort casinos. State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen, recently emphasized the Senate will need to take the lead when the new session begins in January. 

In this article, SBS explores the latest gaming news coming from the state of Texas along with more notes and info regarding gaming in the Lone Star State

Sen. Leach emphasizing legislative unity for gaming bills

As noted in the same report, Rep. Leach has been focusing on how the Texas legislative bodies can come together to pass an overall gambling legalization bill in the next season. “Based on what happened last session, I believe it’s generally understood that unless and until there is real movement and momentum in the Senate next session – meaning the Senate actually taking up and considering the issue – there is likely not going to be any meaningful action on it in the Texas House,” Leach conveyed via text to a notable media outlet in Dallas. 

The Senate poses a significant obstacle, particularly with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s stance. Patrick, who presides over the Senate, has been vocal about the lack of support for casinos within the chamber. “My experience and my knowledge is that we aren’t even close to having 15 or 16 votes for casinos,” Patrick mentioned in a December 1, 2023 interview with a national media outlet out of the Lone Star State. Further complicating the matter is the Texas Republican Party’s recent platform, which strongly opposes gambling expansion and urges GOP lawmakers to reject campaign contributions from gambling-related lobbyists and organizations.  “We oppose any expansions of gambling, including legalized casino gambling,” states the party platform on its official media. 

Gaming bills have had momentum but fell short in ‘23

As it stands today, the Texas Constitution prohibits gambling except on federally recognized tribal lands and for parimutuel horse and dog racing. Changing this requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate, followed by voter approval. 

Last year, Leach introduced a bill and constitutional amendment aimed at legalized digital sports betting, which passed the House with a 101-42 vote but failed to secure a vote in the Senate. Another bill by GOP Rep. John Kuempel of Seguin proposed the creation of eight resort-style casinos, including two in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, it was withdrawn from the House agenda due to insufficient support. Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, also introduced a constitutional amendment in favor of casinos, which fell short by eight votes. 

Gaming lobbying has significant advocates in Texas

Per one article, and covered in this space before, despite these setbacks, Las Vegas Sands, a major player in the casino and resort industry, continues to lobby for the establishment of destination casinos in Texas. The company has invested heavily in lobbying efforts over the past two legislative sessions and has funneled millions of dollars into lawmakers’ campaigns through its political action committees. Also, despite the hurdles covered above, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Sands PAC indicated that the push for destination resort casinos in Texas will persist. Proponents of these casinos argue they would generate significant economic benefits through taxes, job creation, and construction projects

As noted in the article, Mark Cuban, the majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks, expressed his ambition in 2022 to build a new arena within a resort and casino collaboration with the Sands. Moreover, Patrick Dumont, Miriam Adelson’s son-in-law and a key figure in the Mavericks’ purchase, sees potential in developing destination resorts in Texas over the coming years. Also since 2018, Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon, have donated $21.5 million to Texas political organizations and candidates, including $1.5 million to Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign. Miriam Adelson has already contributed $4.1 million to the Texas Sands PAC in 2024. 

Lt. Gov. Patrick, however, has made it clear that any gambling legislation must garner substantial Republican support. With Republicans holding a 19-12 majority in the Senate, he insists on a majority Republican backing for such bills. “We don’t pass any bills that have a handful of Republicans and all the Democrats,” Patrick recently told a local radio outlet. “I’m not passing a bill with all my Democrats and five or six Republicans.”

Additional notes and info regarding Texas betting

Once you are all dialed in regarding the latest gaming news and notes coming from Texas, make sure to tap into the awesome array of information available to you only at SBS. Of course, for even more news on the topic covered here, our sports betting in Texas guide has you covered with the latest updates from the state regarding gaming developments. Conversely, if you are interested in maximizing your wagers (and who isn’t), then make sure to peruse the best bonus betting sites rundown. On this page, you can find a catalog of the latest and greatest welcome bonus offers available to you under certain conditions. Finally, if you are on the go, a must-read page is the best betting apps breakdown which goes over the perks of mobile betting and how you can always stay on top of the action. 

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About the Author

Chris Boline
Chris Boline

As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball. Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.

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