Texas Senator Pre-Files Resolution to Legalize Casinos and Sports Betting

If passed the resolution would allow voters to have their say on legalizing gambling

by - Friday, November 18th, 2022 12:06

Texas Legal Gambling

Houston Democratic Sen. Carol Alvarado has pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment that will put the matter of legalized casino gaming and sports betting in the hands of Texas voters.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 (SJR17) will be heard in next year’s legislative session and if it passes, it will allow the electorate to vote on the introduction of casinos and sportsbooks in the Lone Star State.

The resolution proposes the formation of the Texas Gaming Commission that would regulate and oversee all gambling activity and business in the state.

The resolution’s summary reads as follows:

“Proposing a constitutional amendment to foster economic development and job growth and to provide tax relief and funding for education and public safety by creating the Texas Gaming Commission, authorising and regulating casino gaming at a limited number of destination resorts and facilities licensed by the commission, authorising sports wagering, requiring occupational licenses to conduct casino gaming, and requiring the imposition of a tax.”

The resolution also outlines the investment required for casinos — a Dallas casino would need to invest a minimum of $2 billion while in Houston the figure is $1 billion. There is also a proposed 10% tax on all gross gaming revenues (GGR) from table games. However, slots are another matter and have a tax rate of 25% on all GGR.

Strangely, there are no references to sports betting taxes for either mobile or retail sportsbooks.

SJR17 could be read as early as January 10th. However, it will need to go through several committees and hearings before a final decision can be made. Should it pass through both chambers, voters could have their say on legalized gambling in the state in the November 7th, 2023 election.

Danny Tang

Reporter & gambling industry analyst covering the land-based and online casino industry in the United States.

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