Texans have to wait a little longer before they will find out if lawmakers will legalize gambling in the state.
Even though lobbyists and gambling interests have thrown millions at the effort. Lawmakers who authored bills to bring casinos and sports betting to Texas said they won’t become law this year.
“There’s not time for it to pass this session,” GOP Rep. John Kuempel told The Dallas Morning News this week.
With time running out of this legislative session. None of the bills to expand gaming in Texas made it over their first hurdle. Because the Texas Constitution bans most gambling, the legislation would have needed a two-thirds vote of lawmakers. And then the support of a majority of voters to become law.
According to Kuempel, there wasn’t the political appetite to pass the bills this session. Especially after lawmakers learned that budget holes they hoped to fill with gambling revenues would be shallower than previously expected.
Despite the outcome, Kuempel and Sen. Carol Alvarado, a Democrat who partnered with him on the effort, said they believe momentum is on their side.
“I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been,” Alvarado, who has filed some version of this legislation for more than a decade, told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ve known all this is a long-term attempt.”
If the bills had been brought to the floor, they would have let voters decide whether to amend the state Constitution to legalize gambling. The eventual aim was to allow sports betting as well as eventually bring casino resorts to several major cities.