Texas Lt. Gov. Says Gambling “Won’t See The Light Of Day”


Efforts to legalize casino gambling in Texas has rapidly picked up support, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the projected $946 million budget deficit the state government is facing.
But the state’s Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t think there will be any progress on the issue, at least during this legislative session.
According to a local NBC affiliate, Patrick appeared on a Lubbock-based radio show and said that despite a majority of the state supporting expanded gambling, he doesn’t think it will go anywhere.
“It’s not even an issue that’s going to see the light of day this session,” said Patrick on the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO. “There may be a bill filed, but I doubt it.”
Patrick clearly isn’t aware of the handful of bills that have already been proposed by lawmakers.
Rep. Joe Deshotel filed a bill that would allow casino gambling in “certain coastal areas” and Sen. Roland Gutierrez proposed one that would allow a limited number of casinos in the state. Gutierrez also filed a constitutional amendment that would authorize 12 casinos in the Lone Star State.
Last month, Harold Dutton filed HB 1121, which would bring online sports betting to Texas. His bill mimics the infrastructure set up in Tennessee, which is currently the only online-only sports betting market in the country.
The legislation comes on the heels of a University of Houston survey that showed the majority of Texans support expanding gambling. The survey reported that 70% of the respondents were in favor of legalizing casino gambling.
Aside from the report, Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been pushing for casino gambling as well. Last November, former CEO and Chairman Sheldon Adelson hired a team of lobbyists to sway the legislative momentum in his direction. Adelson passed away in January, but it appears his company is still moving forward with the plans.
Gambling could also be a boon for struggling state coffers, but Patrick also said that the projected estimates wouldn’t even put a dent in the shortfall.
“Every year I tell them the same thing,” said Patrick. “Don’t talk about revenues, because the sports gaming, for example, that teams are trying to push this session… that generates, by their numbers $150 million a year. That’s a lot of money, but it pays for about a half of a day of our year.”
 

 

 

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Posted on 2:28 am

Alabama Casino Bill Passes Senate Committee


The first piece of actual legislation that would bring expanded gambling to Alabama unanimously passed through a Senate committee vote, according to a report from Bhamnow, a local media outlet.
SB 214, sponsored by Sen. Del Marsh, would create a ballot initiative to allow voters to amend the state constitution and allow the creation of a state lottery, legalize sports betting and bring five casinos to the state.
The bill unanimously passed through the Senate Tourism Committee by an 11-0 margin. It will head to the Senate for a floor vote. If it passes the Senate, it will head to the House. Since the bill would amend the state constitution, it needs a 60% approval in both chambers of the legislature in order to get on the ballot.
If it achieves the nearly two-thirds necessary to pass, the question will be on the ballot for voters in November 2022.
Over the last several years, there have been a handful of attempts at bringing more gambling to Alabama, including a sports betting bill that was filed in 2019, but died in the legislature. But efforts ramped up in 2020 once the Poarch Band of Creek Indians began pushing for a gaming compact with the state.
In February 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey said that she wouldn’t enter into a compact with the tribe until a study on the effects of gambling was completed. That study was completed at the end of last year which concluded that its legalization would bring $700 million in tax revenue and another 19,000 jobs to the state economy.
A week ago, Ivey said that expanded gambling would require voter approval. Marsh’s bill would satisfy Ivey’s requirement.
The bill outlines the locations of all five casinos, four of which are already existing race tracks. Birmingham Race Course, VictoryLand in Macon County, GreenTrack in Greene County, Mobile Greyhound Park and a fifth location to be named later in either DeKalb or Jackson County.
 

 

 

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Posted on 1:18 am

Bill That Would Bring A Casino To Hawaii Killed In A Committee


The proposal to build a casino in Hawaii a hit a huge snag as it failed to get out of a committee.
According to a report from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, HB 359 was deferred by Rep. Sean Quinlan, the chairman of the House Economic Development Committee. The bill passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission at the end of 2020 and planned to build a casino resort in Kapolei, a city west of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
The idea behind the proposal was that a casino in Kapolei would generate $30 million in annual tax revenue, which would be used to build homes for nearly 29,000 native Hawaiians.
Historically, the Hawaiian legislature has been staunchly opposed to bringing gambling to the chain of islands. There was testimony from both law enforcement and from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in opposition to the creation of a Las Vegas-style casino in Oahu.
A few days before Quinlan basically killed the bill, a report compiled by a state agency stated that bringing a casino to Hawaii would increase the likelihood of sex trafficking. The report was titled ‘Gambling With Women’s Safety: A Feminist Assessment of Proposed Resort-Casino.’
The state House of Representatives requested a study on the effects of gambling before they moved forward with a vote. The nine-page report also said that a casino would increase domestic violence and said that men who gamble are more likely to pay for sex. It said that Native Hawaiian women were particularly at risk of being a victim of a trafficking ring.
A companion bill, SB 1321, is still circulating through the Senate, but it’s chances of passing after the most recent developments seem bleak.
 

 

 

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Posted on 4:49 am