The campaigns to bring resort casinos and mobile sports betting to the southern American state of Texas have been given significant boosts via news that a trio of associated legislative efforts have made it beyond the committee stage.
The Texas House of Representatives’ 13-member State Affairs Committee recently voted to advance House Joint Resolution (HJR) 155 and its enabling House Bill (HB) 2843 to the floor of the Texas State Capitol for a full vote. The successful passage of these proposals from Republican legislators Charlie Geren and John Kuempel respectively could see casino gaming brought to a limited number of destination resorts across ‘The Lone Star State’ including two for the area around the city of Dallas.
These two measures are now destined to be put to a vote before the 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives in hopes of being able to organize and hold a referendum on an associated constitutional amendment for as soon as November 7. Should residents of the giant state subsequently support this plebiscite and Texas would be permitted to license as many as eight Las Vegas-style resort casinos featuring high-class entertainment complexes, restaurants and gaming floors in addition to four or five-star hotels, convention facilities and retail elements.
Adding to this and the members of the State Affairs Committee have similarly approved a proposal from local Republican legislator Jeff Leach that is seeking permission to bring mobile sports betting to Texas. This measure is now destined to go for a vote before the full Texas House of Representatives and calls for individual operators to pay a 10% betting revenues tax after stumping up a $500,000 licensing fee.
The pro-casino Texas Destination Resort Alliance lobby group applauded the former moves and explained that millions of Texans currently travel to casinos in neighboring states such as Louisiana and Oklahoma where they annually spend an estimated $5 billion. The group’s spokesperson, Matt Hirsch, furthermore asserted that bringing such gambling-friendly facilities to cities such as Dallas, Houston and San Antonio would engender massive economic growth, create thousands of jobs and allow the jurisdiction to collect billions of dollars in tax that could be used to support a range of public safety, infrastructure and education programs.
“The efforts to bring destination resorts to Texas made significant progress with today’s vote,” Hirsch said. “Texans have made it clear that they want destination resorts in Texas and we are now one step closer to ultimately allowing them to decide on this issue. Our members thank and applaud the State Affairs Committee members for advancing Representative Geren’s and Representative Kuempel’s legislation.”
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