Even though casino legislation recently died in the Texas House of Representatives, observers say it likely will get reconsidered two years from now and eventually will win approval.
Online sports betting proposals will also get resubmitted to the legislature and find sufficient votes to reach a statewide referendum, political analysts predict.
Expanded gaming is in Texas’ future, the only question is when,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus recently told Casino.org.
He explained that casino gaming is a big change and will take a few legislative sessions to pass.
There was significant support among legislators for recent casino legislation, with the final House vote falling just shy of the required two-thirds majority in the chamber. Neither sports betting nor casino legislation was considered by the Senate with the chamber under the control of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R.
Concerns Could Be Addressed
The biggest objections are about negative externalities — increased addiction or crime issues — but the legislation can be written to address these to placate legislator concerns,” Rottinghaus said.
In addition, Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones agreed the legislature will reconsider online sports betting and casino gambling legislation in the future.
“The votes in the House were the closest Texas has come to legalizing gambling in more than 30 years,” Jones told Casino.org.
“While casino gambling and online sports betting advocates are disappointed that they did not obtain the passage of their legislation this session, they can take solace in the fact that their legislation made it much further in the legislative process than ever before, and as of today that are well-positioned to make a concerted push in 2025 to finally obtain the long-awaited prize of casino gambling and online sports betting in the Lone Star State,” Jones added.
Future legislation will likely be similar to the bills considered during this session, according to Jones.
There is insufficient time to enact a bill this year. The current session ends on May 29.
The next legislative session begins in 2025. That is when legislators are expected to pick up the issue again.
Before that, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, theoretically could call for a special session for sports betting and casino bills.
“If and when he calls a special session, that is extraordinarily unlikely, really impossible,” Jones said.
Texas on Right Track
Andy Abboud, senior vice president of government relations at Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), which lobbied heavily for the casino legislation, said he was encouraged by the progress made in the legislature.
“Our efforts to bring destination resorts to Texas took an extraordinary step forward with the vote in the Texas House of Representatives,” Abboud was quoted by the Las Vegas Review Journal. “Although it narrowly fell short of the two-thirds threshold of support required for a constitutional amendment, there is no question that our efforts are on the right track.”
The proposal called for up to eight destination resorts in the state. Houston and Dallas region would have gotten two casinos each. San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and McAllen would each have gotten one casino.
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