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US – Texas House State Affairs Committee passes two bills on resort casinos and mobile sportsbetting

By - 5 April 2023

Attempts to bring resort casinos and mobile spots betting to Texas moved a step closer with two bills being approved by the Texas House State Affairs Committee.

The first saw a vote to advance Texas State Representative Charlie Geren’s (R-Fort Worth) House Joint Resolution (HJR) 155 and Texas State Representative John Kuempel’s (R-Seguin) enabling legislation, House Bill (HB) 2843, to authorize casino gaming at a limited number of destination resorts across the state.

If passed by the legislature, Texans will have the opportunity to vote on this constitutional amendment in November 2023. It would see eight destination resort casinos built in Texas, with two in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The second saw the passing of a proposal by Plano GOP Rep. Jeff Leach to legalise mobile sports betting in Texas. It would see a licence fee of $500,000 and a 10 per cent tax on betting revenue.

The Texas Destination Resort Alliance (TXDRA) applauded the move.

“The efforts to bring destination resorts to Texas made significant progress with today’s vote,” said Matt Hirsch, a spokesperson for the Alliance. “Texans have made it clear that they want destination resorts in Texas, and we are now one step closer to ultimately allowing them to decide on this issue. Our members thank and applaud the House State Affairs committee members for advancing Representative Geren and Representative Kuempel’s legislation.”

Millions of Texans currently travel to casinos in neighboring states, spending an estimated $5bn annually in those states. Bringing world-class destination resorts in Texas would lead to massive economic growth, including tens of thousands of jobs, and the increased business, leisure and tourism from resorts would usher in billions of dollars in tax revenue to state and local governments, which can be used for tax relief, public safety, infrastructure, public and higher education and more.

Once established, resorts will include state-of-the-art entertainment complexes, four- or five-star hotels, substantial convention and meeting spaces, casino gaming, live performance and entertainment venues, destination retail shopping, world-class spas and a wide range of restaurants.

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