Just re-run a version of this for the foreseeable future.
Although casino giants and sports betting groups are making a big push in Texas, the head of the state Senate said he isn’t seeing much progress on the issue going into 2023.
“I don’t see any movement on that right now,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in an interview with KXAN-TV in Austin.
Patrick, a Houston Republican who has overseen the Texas Senate since 2015, said that doesn’t mean things can’t change during the legislative session that begins Jan. 10.
He said there is “a lot of talk out there” about gambling but that he hasn’t seen any Republican in the Senate file a bill on the issue yet. Republicans hold a strong majority and control the Senate’s agenda.
State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, has filed legislation to open the state to casinos and sports betting. Under her proposed Senate Joint Resolution No. 17, up to four “destination resorts” in metro areas with at least 2 million people would be allowed, in addition to limited casinos at horse and dog tracks, plus authorization for Native American tribes to operate casino games and slot machines.
In 2021, Patrick similarly doused expectations for expanded gambling in Texas, but even more forcefully.
“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session,” Patrick told Lubbock-based talk radio host Chad Hasty about sports betting legislation in 2021.
Every session, we get a breathless story about how much the gambling lobby will be spending on their hundreds of lobbyists to persuade the Lege to pass a joint resolution for a constitutional amendment to allow some form of expanded gambling. And then we get the same basic story the next session, because the one constant has been Dan Patrick, and even before him the general – and sufficient – Republican opposition to this idea. Never mind that Patrick wasn’t forceful about it this session – nothing has changed from his perspective since the last time, and none of those Republican Senators are going to file anything because they’re all Patrick’s puppets. Never mind that Greg Abbott has, in his typically mealy-mouthed fashion, expressed “openness” to the “idea” of some form of expanded gambling. Abbott’s a wuss who isn’t going to get into a fight with Patrick over this. All he’s saying here is that if Dan Patrick changes his mind and decides to allow something to come to a vote, he won’t oppose it. Nothing has changed, nothing to see here. File this story away for 2025, because it will be as relevant then as it is now.
Eventually, one of two things will change. Either Dan Patrick will decide that he’s okay with some more gambling, or someone else will become Lite Guv, and then we can find out what that person thinks. Until then, try to remain calm. And see if you can get one of those gambling lobbyist gigs. They have to be a great job, as there’s no expectation of success and they’ll be hiring again next time around.