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Casino, Sports-Betting Measures Crashing

- Failed House Vote, Patrick Opposition

Much-anticipated legislation legalizing online sports betting and establishing a few luxury casino gaming destinations across Texas are wilting under political opposition in the Texas Capitol.

While a sports betting measure cleared the Texas House last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spared no time pulling the plug on its chances in the Texas Senate by declaring he wouldn’t even refer it to a committee, infuriating House sponsor Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano.

Casino gaming didn’t even get that much of a chance, failing to garner the required two-thirds support in a lower chamber floor vote earlier last week.

While Patrick asserted the sports betting measure doesn’t have majority support in the Senate, he also has made no qualms this session about holding up important policy initiatives and potentially even the state’s biennial budget until he gets his way on school vouchers and huge hikes in the homestead property tax exemption.

Legislation authorizing both has failed to pass muster in the House.

The social ills tied to gambling also figured prominently in the House floor debate, with various statistics regarding sex trafficking, property crime and criminal violence lobbed by opponents during extended floor debate.

Reporting on predatory practices and questionable college marketing partnerships by the sports betting industry also appears to have contributed to reservations among Texas state lawmakers who also were lobbied heavily to oppose the measures by religious groups opposed to gambling.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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