Texas Gambling Drought: The End is Near
Wow, stop the presses! In an earth-shattering decision, the Texas House of Representatives has given its approval to legalize online sports betting across the state.
The proposal managed to scrape together the 100 votes needed to pass, according to this article. After several minutes of waiting with bated breath for the verification of the vote, it was confirmed that HB1942 had passed with an outstanding 101 votes.
A resolution to legalize casino gambling has been delayed by a day due to a lack of support from lawmakers. Advocates of the proposal are still searching for the required number of votes and have until noon on Friday to get their act together.
Many already betting illegally
Despite this, the author of the sports-betting legislation, Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, gave an inspiring speech on the House floor. He argued that many Texans are already betting on sports illegally and thus should be allowed to come out of the shadows.
Sports yes, casinos no
The sports-betting proposal managed to pass the House after several members changed their votes, with at least five voting yes after voting no the day before. The casino proposal, on the other hand, has faced opposition from a variety of angles. Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, claimed that if Texas legalized casinos, sex trafficking and domestic violence would skyrocket.
The head of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, also opposed both proposals, saying the process was rushed.
Regardless of the outcome, the proposals have already made progress not seen since the gaming advocates descended on Austin two years ago with an all-out lobbying blitz. The casino empire Las Vegas Sands has been particularly active, spending millions of dollars on lobbyists, TV ads, and campaign contributions.
Not quite there yet
The proposals still need a two-thirds majority from both the House and Senate, followed by voter approval, to amend the state constitution.