Last week, the House pushed harder than ever to legalize casinos and sports betting in Texas. A recent Tweet from Lt. Dan Patrick said that the progress for the year is complete.
The measure on casino failed to receive the two-thirds vote in the House required to proceed to the second reading. Since then, the reading has been repeatedly delayed.
HJR102 on the other had obtained just a little over 100 votes in the House needed to move it forward. However, Patrick pointed out that Texas Republicans have a policy of not moving on measures where there is a Democratic majority.
Patrick’s remarks are not surprising, given that he has been trying to dispel the notion for the past year that the Lone Star State might actually have a sports betting initiative on the ballot. Patrick is the Senate President under Texas law. Gov. Greg Abbott is a little more open but he was clear that it needed to be done with a “professional” approach.
Patrick, on a personal basis, has been against the expansion of gambling in the state. Chickasaw Nation operates tribal casinos in Oklahoma and has consistently donated to Patrick’s campaigns.
The Texas legislative session ends on May 29, 2019. The lawmakers only meet on odd-numbered years so it won’t be until 2025 that the industry will have another chance to bring sports betting into the state. In this most recent effort, a number high-profile Texans including the former Governor advocated for sports betting. Rick Perry and sports team owners Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones.
In the early part of this year, a study by the University of Houston revealed that Texas residents strongly supported the expansion of gambling in the state.