On Monday, a Texas House committee voted 9-3 in favor of two proposals that would expand gambling in the state. The measures, House Bill 2843 and House Bill 1942, seek to legalize casino gambling and online sports betting, respectively, and allow for sports wagering under the casino bill.
While the committee’s approval represents more progress than the proposals made during the last legislative session, the road to their implementation is a long and arduous one. Constitutional changes are necessary, requiring two-thirds majorities in both chambers, making the Senate’s current lack of appetite for the bills a cause for concern.
Despite this, the Las Vegas Sands casino empire, along with other gaming advocates, have been pushing for the expansion of gambling in Texas for two legislative sessions in a row, with the casino giant spending millions of dollars on lobbyists, TV ads, and campaign contributions since 2020.
Although the legislation has yet to be discussed in-depth by lawmakers, the committee members voted on a revised version of the casino bill without disclosing its contents. While proponents argue that expanding gaming would provide an economic boost to Texas, opponents warn of the potential societal harms of increased gambling addiction.
However, the vote is still being heralded as progress by the supporters of the measures, who believe that Texans want destination resorts and gambling options within their state. It remains to be seen whether these proposals will ultimately come to fruition, but for now, they have taken an important step forward in the legislative process.