Two separate Texan gaming bills – HB 1942 and HB 2843 – passed through the House State Affairs committee at 9-3 votes.
The bills will now head to the House Calendar committee where lawmakers will decide whether they will come up for a vote on the floor of the House.
The first piece of legislation – House Bill 1942 – seeks to legalize online sports betting in the Lone Star state.
The law would establish a regulatory regime with a $500,000 access fee, and a 10% tax on gross gambling revenue. The bill has the support of the Texan sports franchises, mobile operators and former governor Rick Perry.
Since gambling is specifically prohibited under the text of the Constitution of Texas, the bill is accompanied by House Joint Resolution 102 – which would seek to authorize the activity via amendment.
In order for such a measure to pass, the resolution would require two-thirds of both chambers to agree to it, as well as a majority of Texan voters in a November special election.
The second proposed law – which is more expansive – is House Bill 2843, which would regulate casino gambling and sports wagering, as well as establish a new regulatory body the Texas Gaming Commission. Similar to HB 1942, the legislation is accompanied with House Joint Resolution 155, which would alter the state constitution.
Response from industry
The ndustry met the news of the bill’s progress with enthusiasm.
“The efforts to bring destination resorts to Texas made significant progress with today’s vote,” said Matt Hirsch, a spokesperson for the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, a Las Vegas Sands-backed lobbying organisation.
“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 House State Affairs committee members for advancing Representative Geren and Representative Kuempel’s legislation.”