Will gambling and marijuana soon be legal in Texas?
The Democratic candidate for governor of Texas, Beto O'Rourke, is said to be considering legalizing gambling and sports betting. O'Rourke is also planning to legalize cannabis, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported recently.
Legalizing gambling and sports betting should help lower property taxes, challenger to incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott said during a campaign stop in Dallas.
Texas has no state property tax, but municipalities and counties levy property taxes to fund schools, police and fire departments, road repairs and public hospitals.
O'Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, said the state could make billions of dollars by regulating gambling, sports betting and marijuana sales.
Texans want to regulate gambling
The candidate for governor claimed that Texans are already crossing state lines for casino gambling and sports betting. As a result, Texas is losing billions of dollars in revenue. They have flowed into neighboring states.
As O'Rourke explained:
"Because we're listening to Texans across the state, first of all, it's a very popular proposition, and second of all, it will also help us solve some of the problems we have in reducing inflation and lowering property taxes in the state. [...]"
Texas politicians have a bad attitude towards gambling
However, according to O'Rourke, legalizing gambling is not an easy matter. The Texas Constitution prohibits gambling. The current Republican governor, Abbott, supports the ban and has made no effort to repeal it.
The constitutional amendment requires approval by two-thirds of the House and Senate. However, the legislative landscape is by no means conducive to gambling. Conservative evangelicals in the Austin State House still wield considerable influence. How nice that they don't have such an insane amount of influence over online resources and Texans can already bet online at https://betting-sider.net/betting-sider-med-dansk-licens/ and get bonuses for it!
Las Vegas Sands meet Texas
O'Rourke isn't the only one who thinks Texas is ready for gambling expansion. Out-of-state casino companies have long been trying to convince lawmakers to allow the development of integrated casino resorts throughout Texas.
Las Vegas Sands is among them. The company has already invested millions of dollars in lobbying to do so. However, the company's recent efforts failed earlier this year. This prompted Sands executives to postpone the attempt until the next legislative session.
In February, Sands formed a new political action committee to back its push to legalize casinos: the Texas Sands PAC, which at the time was credited with having already spent more than half a million dollars on about three dozen future House and Senate primaries.
Р. G Ratcliffe, an ancient state political writer, commented that. The religious right is doing a very good job of winning the Republican primaries in Texas.
"Many interested in expanding gambling in Texas are also big donors to state politicians. But nothing has happened [...]."
So it's hard to predict if anything will happen on that front, other than a paradigm shift in the political atmosphere. Next year, in 2023, the Texas legislature will reconvene to pass the law. It remains to be seen whether gambling and sports betting legislation will be adapted.
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