Las Vegas Sands has been pushing to get sports abetting and all-encompassing casino gaming in Texas. For years Texans have had to take drives to OK and Louisiana for some good old gambling. On the 14 of April 2021, the Texas House State Affairs Committee listened to testimony from proponents of the legalization of sports betting and casinos. They are pushing to have the proposed legislation put to the vote on the statewide ballot in November. What has been the progress since the proposal was put forward?
Las Vegas Sands’ Campaign to Get Gambling in Texas
Las Vegas Sands hired a team of 73 lobbyists to advance their agenda for legal sports betting and commercial casinos in Texas. House Rep. Dan Huberty laid out and presented the bill to lay the foundation for a licensing program for sports betting in Texas. As he presented House Bill (HB) 2070, Huberty highlighted that the state was losing “billions” in revenue as residents travelled out to gamble in nearby states. According to the bill projections, there would be around $180 million for the state’s tax revenue. After that, the state would be looking at a projected $400 million in tax revenue in coming years.
Opponents of Las Vegas Sands’ Push for Sports Betting
Naturally, the federally recognized tribes who currently run casinos in Texas do not welcome the proposal of commercial sports and casino gambling in the state. A representative of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas (KTTT) explained why they are against the bill. According to KTTT, the bill is not inclusive in its talk of expanding the gambling scape in Texas. As HB2070, it seems it does not speak of expansion for the tribes too. As it stands, the Native American casinos are only authorized to offer Class II gaming. If the rest of the state were to get commercial gaming, they fear that the economic well-being of their tribe would suffer.
Others oppose the expansion of sports betting and gambling on the grounds of “morality.” Rob Kohler, who represents the Baptist General Convention in Texas, felt that it would be a bad example for the youth in the state. Moreover, he is of the thought that the economic benefits are being overstated.
Dan Huberty anecdotally dismissed the Baptist representative’s concerns mentioning how he plays golf with many Baptists who claim to be against all things gambling and yet bet on golf games with him.
Progress of the Sports Betting Bill
The House was set to have heard the proposed sports betting bill at the beginning of May, yet that date came and passed with no hearing. Although the Sports betting bill has the support of Texas sports teams and other betting platforms, it seems destined for a dead end. We will be keeping an eye on the progress of this bill to keep you all updated.
Please find out more about Texas casinos and gambling in our guide.
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