In this state of limbo, some politicians remain confident that the arrival of more regulated gambling activities is actually good for the Lone Star State. Among them is former Gov. Rick Perry who is confident that voters are willing to see sports gambling passed, and that it should ultimately be their vote to see this matter through.
Lawmakers Put Things in Motion
Perry is somewhat confident that a bill pitched by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst could possibly make it through the Assembly and to the governor’s vote. There is also the bill introduced by Rep. Jeff Leach in the House, with both chambers now making a bid for sports gambling regulation, and both legislations enjoying a degree of bipartisan support.
Sports gambling has proven to be a particularly neutral ground when it comes to party divisions. The main objections are usually moral, and it is difficult to weigh whether the good of the newly-minted tax dollar would outweigh the bad done by problem gambling rates.
This moral turbulence aside, the new bills are given a fair shot to at least convince more people to consider sports gambling in the Assembly. Both Kolkhorst and Leach have worded their bills in fairly similar language. For example, they both expect their bills to collect a 10% tax on sports betting revenue and for holders to pay a $500,000 fee.
But for any sports gambling activity to take place in Texas, the constitution of the state would first have to be amended. This means a referendum, which ought to be decided on by voters. To get to a referendum, two-thirds majorities must be won in both the House and the Senate. It’s a hard thing, hosting referenda, but sports gambling seems to not be as divisive.
Let the Voters Decide
Perry himself spoke favorably of sports gambling while he was governor. He is also confident that the state stands to win a lot – around $500 million in revenue from the activity, which is a lot of additional funding to simply snub or pontificate about without strong arguments to support either claim.
Should the issue get to a referendum, Perry is more than confident that voters in the state would choose to pass a sports gambling legalization “overwhelmingly.” Legislators still have plenty of time to spearhead either of the two proposed bills as the legislative session ends on May 29.