Legalized gambling in Texas: Why and when it could happen

Everything is bigger in Texas and so are the red numbers in the revenue column. With the economy sagging, the Lone Star State faces a budget shortfall of $27 billion over the next two years.

Cautiously following in the footsteps of other states seeking a source of additional income, Texas is entertaining the option of expanded gaming. The Legislature reconvened on Jan. 11 and if a proposal passes, gambling could be Texas’ newest version of black gold.

“Texas has attempted legislation for expanded gaming in the past but they’ve always been knocked down because of internal political fights among potential benefactors,” said Bill Eadington, Director at the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno. “That said, the environment is arguably better now for legalization of gambling because states in general are in much more desperate financial straits.”

Eadington pointed out that states such as Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have adopted expanded gaming in recent years to offset economic pitfalls.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has firmly been opposed to expanded gaming since he took office in 2000. But Perry recently said he wouldn’t exercise his vetoTexas Governor Rick Perry has firmly been opposed to expanded gaming since he took office in 2000 powers should a gambling bill pass. Texas would need a two-thirds vote in the Legislature before being placed on a November ballot for the voters.

Recent numbers indicate the required votes aren’t there among members of the Senate and House. The Texas Republican Party has even made a recent push to repeal the state lottery. But as Eadington noted, financial despair has swayed some of the Legislature and may attract more. 

Proposals from poker halls to Vegas-style casinos will be considered over the next four months.

“The Texas Gaming Association (TGA) will be supporting legislation that will create a framework for a limited number of destination resort casinos here in the state of Texas,” said TGA spokesman Scott Dunaway. “Our proposal will include table games and electronic machines. Our resorts will not only have opportunities for casino gaming but we also have plans to bring world-class entertainment and dining—what you would come to expect in Las Vegas.”

Anywhere from four to eight resort casinos are outlined in the bill. Destinations are likely to include highly populated cities such as Dallas and Houston but also beachfront areas like South Padre Island or Galveston. Tax revenue projections brought in by casinos reach as high as $4.5 billion.

Reports have estimated that adding electronic gaming to state racetracks could produce as much as $1 billion in annual revenue. Track owners are making a strong push for slots because they don’t know how much longer the struggling horse racing industry can survive without additional gambling amenities.

And if Texans can’t spend their hard-earned dollar locally, they’ll travel elsewhere to get their kicks. Bordering states such as Oklahoma and Louisiana have profited from cowboys with cash-crammed Wranglers. Texans spend an estimated $6 billion per year in out-of-state gambling.

With 10 professional franchises and more than a dozen collegiate teams at the Division I level, Texas arguably holds more sports fans than any other state. But according to Dunaway, an expanded gaming option of sports wagering is “not even part of the conversation.”

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT
Hide All Responses
avatar

Posted by rachelsoliz
1 year ago

avatar

Posted by rachelsoliz
1 year ago

Ireally agree we got out of town to go to a casino so far when we can easily have our own here in texas ,this is a big state and this woud be a good turn out i went to a casino in oklahoma and some person that picked us up from truckers parking said hope texas never get there own casino we asked why he said that would take all our business away. also louisianna said the same thing we had illegal game rooms here in south texas and believe me they were packed,really lets vote for our own casino please let us have a casino near corpus christi tx i am tired of having to drive to far we are elderlies and we too like to enjoy casinos so come texas build us a casino soon.
avatar

Posted by rittarslisa
2 years ago

Yes, we all go to Shreveport, Bossier, Okla, Lake Charles, taking our Texas Money there., why? Because the Legislature is idotic, we voted on these people to keep our State in the Red. and they can't see the money going to other places, I'll tell them one thing they better change their tatics and let us have a vote on gaming in Texas or we will be in the same boat as Calif., in the very near future, You see what Colo. did which I think is stupid, they should have voted on gameing to be legal instead of weed. YUK! grow up people!!Come on people lets be heard here in TEXAS. lets do it BIG we want Gaming lets get it.
avatar

Posted by rittarslisa
2 years ago

avatar

Posted by illbetcha
2 years ago

I can't think of anything more relaxing than getting off work stopping by a casino for a couple of hours on a Friday night and trying my luck. The theory of the casinos attracking organized crime is nonsense. Has anyone watched the local news lately....there is organized crime here already. There are people who wake up every day and think of ways to break the law just like you and me wake up to go to work. It's been like that since the beginning of time. I say legalize gambling in Texas and stop making us drive hundreds of miles to other states where we have to take a bigger chance of having an accident. Not to mention the money would stay here. The casinos would produce jobs: casino workers, cab companies would stay busy, the hotels would be busy, security jobs, entertainment, food businesses, it goes on and on. Let me decide where and how I spend my money. You can't take it with you when you croak!!! Anyway there are game rooms all over the state already and who do you think they pay for the permits to have those slot machines in those game rooms, the city. Don't tell me the politicians don't know gambling is already here. People need to get their high horse and just be real lets have some fun here at home.
avatar

Posted by LeRinkRat
3 years ago

Nevada is always cited as "look at how much money they make from gaming" BUT we are as BROKE out here as any state and have the highest unemployment rate in the country with Clark County (Las Vegas) at close to 20%. this is mostly because we grew so fast in the 90's thru the mid 2000's that when construction collapsed a lot of workers in that industry lost their jobs AND the overall unemploymet nationally has killed the tourist trade. point is, IF the average "middle class" person has become unemployed OR is worried about their job, they are probably NOT going to go to a casino AND, in our case here in Nevada, they are probably NOT going to travel half way across the country when they can just go to a local Indian Gaming (like Foxwoods in the northeastern united states or the California indian operations) or Legal State casino "next door" (like Louisiana for a Texan). current conditions in Nevada prove that gaming is NOT the end all for state budget problems. FAIR TRADE where Amrican workers have an even playing field vs the current "anything goes" so called "Free Trade" is what just might save the states. employed people PAY taxes. unemployed people DON'T and USE state and federal revenue.
avatar

Posted by alling
3 years ago

yea sports betting is immoral except if you live in nevada where its normal
avatar

Posted by dick747
3 years ago

lottery = gov't gambling!!!
avatar

Posted by echelon1
3 years ago

I live in Texas and enjoy gambling in many forms...have been doing so since I was 16 or 17...and I'm in mid-30's now. I grew up about 30 miles from Louisiana, and we drove over there all the time for horse racing, boat casinos, etc. Before the popularity of internet sports gambling we used bookies. Now we use internet sports betting and make 2-3 trips to Vegas a year for other table gambling. I've lived in Houston, Dallas, and now Austin. And many successful professionals I know do these same things. Nobody I know these days has a gambling problem that hurts their personal life, other than maybe takes up alot of free time. But that's why it's free time...to do with what you choose. It's ridiculous not to have these opportunities nearby. With the money in these major cities, Texas could have awesome, extravagant casinos that rival anywhere. It's a shame they don't get on this. So many people here just bring their money elsewhere constantly. Why not benefit our own economy. Makes no sense.
avatar

Posted by Lar1212
3 years ago

The biggest quote from that story was "...Texans spend an estimated $6 billion per year in out-of-state gambling." I believe it too. Everytime I go to out-of-state casinos... all of the license plates are from Texas.
avatar

Posted by FrankBenjamin
3 years ago

32 states already have some sort of gambling now - at least slots. Many, like Pennsylvania, recently added table games because people were heading to West Virginia or AC to play poker and other table games. It seems to me that gambling is becoming the new marijuana, with Delaware being the California and leading the fight for sport betting. With state budgets increasing, and many states already looking at medicible pot, they will have to find other ways to make ends meet. The question is, how powerful will the NFL and other leagues be in arguing against it. The thing is, that these sports wouldn't be as popular as they are without gambling. How many people would in cities without a team in the playoffs actually be interested in it. How many people would actionally watch the Super Bowl if it weren't for their bets? It might not be tomorrow, or in 5 years. But I wouldn't be surprised if sports betting becomes legal in some for, in some new states before I die!
avatar

Posted by EMU2005
3 years ago

i only care about sports betting, if they dont have that, im not going!!!!!!
avatar

Posted by MakeSumCake
3 years ago

Yes we need it.
avatar

Posted by bulichm
3 years ago

With so many states going broke where can I place a bet that this trend continues big time. Its better for the state to take money willingly given than slap higher unwantsd taxes on the citizens.
         1      
You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

Posted by Lar1212
3 years ago

"The biggest quote from that story was "...Texans spend an estimated $6 billion per year in out-of-state gambling." I believe it too. Everytime I go to out-of-state casinos... all of the license plates are from Texas."