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Texas lawmakers face pressure to expand gambling in 2023’s inaugural legislative session

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Staff member
Jan 17, 2008
'Source - GamingAmerica

Experts predict they will reject a bill calling for nine casino licenses in the Lone Star State.
The 88th Texas Legislature will convene on January 10, and public policy watchdogs predict it will face intense pressure to expand
gambling in the Lone Star State. This comes at a rare time when Texas has a $27bn budget surplus, whereas
usually lawmakers must deal with a tight budget.

Senator Carol Alvarado, Democrat Representative for Houston, has already introduced SJR17, which would allow for up to nine
casino licenses in Texas, including four destination casinos. The bill would also create a sports wagering licensing program.

However, this bill is strongly opposed by Texas Baptists, the oldest Baptist convention in the state, who see the move as an
attempt to move toward Sports Betting legalization. Public policy watchdogs believe that Texan lawmakers will take the
organization’s side and reject the SJR17 bill.

Texas Baptists also oppose the introduction of any efforts to divert tax dollars to private religious schools, another item that will
be on the table in 2023’s opening legislative session. It believes that lawmakers will attempt to pass a limited voucher program,
instead of a ‘full-scale’ alteration of education funding.

Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission Director of Public Policy John Litzler commented: “The challenge legislators face is making
improvements that can be sustainable for the future. They have to look for permanent solutions. It can’t be just a one-time fix, working with extra money.”

The Texas Constitution prohibits gambling in Texas with a few exceptions. The Lone Star State has a state-run lottery, pari-mutuel
betting on horse and greyhound races, and games such as bingo, raffles and pull-tabs, which must be operated for charitable purposes.