Senator Carol Alvarado recently pre-filed Senate Joint Resolution 17(SJR17). It is a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution that its voters will get. The Houston Democrat is optimistic that the gaming bill will pass in the 2023 legislative session.
It intends to amend the constitution to allow sports gambling and casino gaming. Voters will get an opportunity to decide whether to allow sports betting and casinos in Texas if the bill passes.
More Details About the Conservative State’s Gambling Bill
The SJR17 will legalize sports betting and casinos in the state once it passes. Besides, it will allow the creation of a Texas Gaming Commission. Most American states have such commissions that control commercial gaming within their jurisdiction like sports betting and casinos.
The gambling amendment bill is proposing a constitutional change to promote job growth, economic development and to offer education funding, tax relief, and public safety through forming the Texas Gaming Commission, regulating and allowing casino gaming in particular casino resorts or facilities that the commission will license.
Also, it will allow sports betting, and operators will need occupational licenses to offer casino games and pay taxes. The law will need a $2 billion Dallas-region casino, a $1 billion casino in Houston, or more development investment. The resolution advocates for a 10 percent tax on each casino’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) from its table games and a 25 percent tax on GGR from slot machines.
PlayTexas indicates that the Senator’s 2023 legislation resembles the 2021 law (SJR49). The gaming site shows that SJR17 sets four resort casinos as the legislation’s centerpiece. Moreover, it allows greyhound and horse racing and small casinos. Even so, it lacks reference to retail or online sports gambling.
Next Year’s Gambling Expansion Proposal
It isn’t strange for lawmakers to pre-file bills and resolutions. But, the Senate and House members have to discuss them in legislative sessions. So, the legislature has to debate and back Alvarado’s bill in Austin in the 2023 legislative session from January 10 to May 29.
The state’s gambling expansion proposal will face various challenges even if the senator’s amendment bill will get the committees’ support. The extension will only succeed if it gets two-thirds majority approval in the legislature. Still, more than half of the state’s voters have to support it in the November 7, 2023 ballot.
The Future of Legal Gambling in the State
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott haven’t rushed to criticize religious conservatives who are vehemently opposing legalizing gaming and sports betting in Texas. Patrick didn’t support gambling expansion, thus preventing the bills from advancing to a vote in the Texas Senate or House.
Representative Dan Huberty sponsored bills HJR97 and HB2070, which proposed amending the state’s constitution to allow sports gambling. But, they didn’t get a vote. Legal gambling in Texas is facing many obstacles, but bettors recently got good news after Abbott openly stated that he would allow casinos in the state.
Native tribes control Florida and California’s gaming markets. But Texas might be the country’s last large state to legalize commercial casinos on the borderline. Thus, local players are anticipating what the legislature will decide about Senator Alvarado’s gambling bill next year.
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