Texas Poker Bill to be Debated in 2013 State Legislature

Texas appears to be the next state looking to legalize brick and mortar poker.  Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) looks to introduce House Bill 292, also known as the Poker Gaming Act of 2013.  The bill would legalize live poker at the state’s racetracks, bingo halls and reservations.  Only Texas Hold’em and similar types of poker games would be legalized.It would not legalize any house games, nor would it allow online poker to be regulated.  The Texas Legislature will meet again in January to consider this bill.

Poker would be designated a game of skill and would be regulated by the Texas Lottery Commission.  All sites offering live poker would have to be licensed, as would all employees involved in dealing and managing the games.  All poker rooms located at bingo halls or anywhere besides racetracks and tribal land would pay an 18% tax on gross proceeds.  Racetracks would pay 16% in taxes on gross revenue.  Reservations would likely be exempt from paying any taxes on their gaming revenue.

This should come as good news to a group known as “Let Texans Decide”.  This group has been trying to change laws in Texas to legalize casinos.  While this is not a casino bill, as house games and slots would not be permitted, it is a step in the right direction.  Let Texans Decide feels that a statewide referendum should be held and that voters should be able to decide once and for all if Texas should allow legalized gambling.

As you see from the map on their logo, every state that borders Texas allows legalized gambling in some form.  Let Texans Decide feels that $2.5 billion from Texans finds its way into casinos in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Gambling in Texas is limited to racetracks and small remote tribal casinos.

This proposal was first discovered by Pokerati.

Text of the bill

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