Texas Hold’em in Texas?


Posted: April 9, 2013

Updated: April 9, 2013

Lawmakers discuss possible casino referendum

When the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce meets tomorrow morning, the issue on their agenda is whether the state should begin granting licenses for destination resort casinos and gambling parlors.

Although the state already sports a tribal casino run by the Kickapoo Indians, many Texans would like to see the gambling industry develop to the fullest.

Although American gambling laws leave this matter in the hands of the individual states, while also granting Native American tribes the right to their own decisions, there are many other factors that can complicate these decisions locally.

Even though one of the most popular poker games is named after the state, Texas is one of the 21 states currently without any racetrack or resort casinos. Changing this situation, however, would require a constitutional amendment. This is clearly a complicated process, ultimately culminating in a statewide referendum.

While some other states are already working hard on regulating online gambling to allow American internet casinos to flourish once again, these brick-and-mortar efforts in Texas seem to be a bit belated, albeit necessary measures if the state is to keep a share of gambling revenues.

It is estimated that the amount of money exiting Texas to find a new home in out-of-state casinos is around USD 2.9 billion a year.

The state budget could sure use that money and committee Chair, Sen. John Carona (R) is quick to acknowledge that. “There isn’t a single other economic opportunity that can match the total effect of this legislation’s application. There isn’t another source of tax revenue as great as this, either,” said he.

At the time when some casino-friendly states like New Jersey are already exploring various options to save their ailing industries, including sports betting initiatives and the re-introduction of online poker sites in the US, the Lone Star State will have to act very decisively if it wants to turn the state’s new industry into a success story. Of course it first requires that both the legislature and the voters approve a constitutional amendment authorizing casino and racetrack gambling.

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