Houston Democratic Senator Carol Alvarado tentatively filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would put the legalization of casino gaming and sports betting in the hands of Texas voters.

Senate Joint Resolution 17 (SJR17) will be heard in next year’s legislature, and if passed, it will allow the electorate to vote for the introduction of casinos and bookmakers in the Lone Star State.

The resolution proposes the creation of a Texas Gaming Commission that will regulate and oversee all gambling activities and businesses in the state.

The summary of the resolution reads as follows:

“Proposing a constitutional amendment to promote economic development and job growth, and provide tax incentives and funding for education and public safety through the creation of the Texas Gambling Commission to permit and regulate gambling at a limited number of resorts and facilities licensed by the commission, permissive sports betting, requiring professional licenses to operate casino games, and requiring the imposition of a tax.”

The resolution also specifies the investment required for the casinos: Dallas casinos must invest a minimum of $2 billion, while in Houston the figure is $1 billion. It is also proposed to introduce a 10% tax on all gross gaming revenues (GGR) from table games. However, slots are a different matter and are taxed at a rate of 25% on all GGR.

Oddly enough, there is no mention of sports betting taxes for either mobile or retail bookmakers.

SJR17 could be read as early as January 10th. However, a final decision will require going through several committees and hearings. If it passes both houses, voters will be able to voice their opinion on the legalization of gambling in the state in the November 7, 2023 elections.

Danny Tang

Gambling industry reporter and analyst covering the US land-based and online casino industry.


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