Texas sports betting and casino measures out of House committee

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Not quite two weeks after a committee hearing on casinos and sports betting, the Texas House State Affairs Committee has advanced the pair of sports betting bills, HB1942 and HJR102, out of committee along with HB2843, a bill to legalize casinos in the state in addition to sports betting.

It is a meaningful piece of progress for sports betting legislation in the state, however, it is not a sign that legalization is on the horizon for 2023. Particularly because in Texas it would take a constitutional amendment and a voter referendum to allow for gambling expansion in the state. In order for a constitutional amendment to make the ballot in the first place, it would need to pass with two-thirds approval in each chamber.

Nonetheless, the committee advanced the bills with no debate by a 9-3 vote with the dissent coming from Republican representatives. This is the farthest the sports betting discussion has gone in Texas, but it might be where it stalls out this year.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been making the media rounds and loudly trumpeting that there is a lack of support for the measures to go much further.

“Our members have been clear: they’re not in support today. We don’t have any votes in the Senate,” Patrick said. “Couldn’t find one Senator who supported it,” Patrick told The Mark Davis Show last week.

Patrick went on to say that unless he has a majority of Texas Republican Senators in support of the bill, he has no intentions of calling it for a floor vote. So, even if the House does vote on the bill and it passes through to the Senate, there is quite a roadblock awaiting the measure.