Gambling Expansion Could Have Path To Vote In Texas House

Written By Derek Helling on January 17, 2023
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Whether an expansion to legal Texas gambling will take shape this year is uncertain at best. However, it seems that such proposals could at least see a vote in one of the two chambers of the state’s legislature.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is open to considering such legislation in the current session. The issue could come down to whether his counterpart in the Texas Senate feels the same way, however.

Texas gambling expansion could get consideration soon

According to Cameron Sibert and Lupita Villarreal of 12NewsNow Beaumont, Phelan isn’t opposed to legislation that could introduce legal commercial casino gaming and sports betting to Lone Star State. That casino play would most likely take the form of resort-style, brick-and-mortar casinos.

Phelan even believes that if given the chance, Texas voters would approve a constitutional amendment legalizing those forms of gambling. He will definitely play a role in making such a vote happen as the Speaker.

In that role, Phelan has a lot of influence over which pieces of legislation come up for a vote. Additionally, he has an insider’s view into how much support certain bills have among the body’s members. Thus, his receptivity to gaming legislation is a positive for proponents of the industry.

Phelan’s impartiality toward gambling bills means such measures could at least come up for a vote of the full House. At this point, none of the representatives have submitted their own gaming bills.

Such bills seeing the floor is no guarantee that the House would approve such measures, however. Furthermore, it’s also no assurance that the Texas Senate would move on any legislation that the House approves.

Would Texas Senate stonewall any gambling proposals?

Currently, the support or lack thereof in the Texas Senate when it comes to gambling expansion is a difficult read. While Texas Sen. Carol Alvarado has already filed an amendment proposal, more legislation is necessary.

Also, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick hasn’t committed publicly to supporting such proposals. As the president of the Texas Senate, he decides which legislation comes to the floor. In 2021, Patrick refused to let any gaming bills come up for a vote.

If he takes the same stance this year, the actions of the House ultimately won’t mean much. Regardless, Phelan being open to taking such action is still good news for those who would like to see change.

Photo by AP Photo/Eric Gay/PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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