Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday he has held preliminary talks with other state governors on partnering with Nevada on Internet poker.
Sandoval didn’t name the states but gaming sources said Texas could be a target.
Sandoval, a Republican, supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s brief run for the GOP’s presidential nomination last year. Also, the Texas Legislature is considering the Poker Gaming Act of 2013, which would make it legal in the state to play poker online.
“I’ve talked with a few governors and I’m introducing the concept of compacting,” Sandoval said following a tour of the new corporate headquarters in Las Vegas for BMM International, one of two laboratories that tests gaming equipment for Nevada regulators.
“It’s very much in the early stages and we have a great opportunity because we have the infrastructure and other states have the players,” Sandoval said. “I’m hopeful we’ll continue to talk.”
Texas lawmakers will again take up the issue of gaming expansion during the state’s biannual legislative session that begins next week.
And, as in previous years, a gaming bill has as much chance of passing through both Lone Star State legislative houses as the Dallas Cowboys have of winning the Super Bowl with Tony Romo at quarterback.
Slim and none.
“There are a host of detractors and hurdles standing in the way of Texas passing gaming expansion anytime soon, from religious groups, out-of-state gaming interests, a conservative Legislature, and animal rights groups,” Union Gaming Group managing director Bill Lerner told investors.
National gaming expansion talks always focus on Texas when that state’s Legislature convenes for roughly five months in odd-numbered years.
Have you seen this new reality show on CNN called “The Republican Tea Party Debate”? LOL, the new season is just getting underway, but already I’m looking forward to seeing who gets voted off the island. The first episode last night was full of groaners and OMGs and gawkable moments … the characters are about as good as any Real World/Survivor crew I’ve ever seen before. You can already tell Michelle Bachman is gonna be the Omarosa and Rick Santorum the Puck.
The poker-player’s candidate, Gary Johnson, apparently didn’t make the cut … but poker did enter into the debate when Mitt Romney challenged Texas Governor Rick Perry’s record on job creation … essentially calling him a luckbox.
Not quite the “licensed and regulated online poker” stuff we mighta hoped for … but hey.
Unfortunately, not only do these two look-a-likes reveal an inherent conservative opposition to “regulation” that the Barton Bill will have to overcome, but also they seem to be talking 5-card draw or maybe 7-stud with the four Aces analogy — as if they’re totally unaware that much of the country is playing Pot-Limit Omaha.
I believe we should hit with calls and Twitters.Â This was effective at getting us heard in Minn., so let’s try it here.Â I wrote up some Tweets to Twitter.Â It takes just seconds to send these out, so let’s all pitch in!
Click here to send Tweet #1: RT @PPApoker: PLZ tell TX @GovernorPerry at (800) 252-9600 to stop blocking a vote on HB 222, a bill that allows poker in Texas. PLS RT!”
Click here to send Tweet #2: “RT @PPApoker: PLZ tell TX @GovernorPerry at (800) 252-9600 that poker is a game of skill that should be legal in Texas. PLS RT.”
Also, if Perry follows you on Twitter, you can send him a direct message:
Our non-friends at Texans Against Gambling told their influential members that they needed to combat big-time casino lobbying dollars supposedly pushing HB 222. However, they don’t tell you who received a lot of those gambling-interest dollars, nor that a some of them were being spent to defeat the bill.
By all means, our good poker friends in Oklahoma have contributed their fair share to keep Texans playing in their Indian nations … but frankly, it’s a very small percentage of the $7.6 million spent on gambling-related Texas politicking in 2007-08 — and they’re not exactly being hypocrites about any of it, save for maybe riding the coattails of those who are.
Top Recipients of Oklahoma Tribal Money
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst(R)
Stars Over Texas PAC(R)
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst(R)
TX Repub. Legislative Caucus(R)
Attorney General Greg Abbott(R)
Sen. Kip Averitt(R)
Sen. Kim Brimer(R)*
Rep. Tom Craddick(R)
Sen. Bob Deuell(R)
Sen. Kevin Eltife(R)
Sen. Chris Harris(R)
House Dem. Campaign Com.(D)
Sen. Jane Nelson(R)
Sen. Tommy Williams(R)
Click below for an even more interesting look at the Texas pols who taking the most gambling-industry dollars. I wonder how his morality-minded base feels about Gov. Rick Perry coming in at #2, with nearly $800k in gambling-interest love.
Rep. Jose Menendez stepped away briefly from the House floor to talk me off of tilt learn-me-some political sportsmanship and let concerned Pokeratizens know that no, HB 222 isn’t dead yet … but he may well have to put it to sleep if we can’t out-social-network Texas’ well-heeled right-wing-conservative power base. Why this isn’t proving to be a simple yay or nay, according to Menendez and my hastily scrawled (with an extra-large Sharpie) phone-call interview notes:
[first minute of convo not recorded nor written down]
“We’ve got to have a green light from the governor, because if the guys on the floor know he’s going to veto it, I won’t be able to get enough Rs and even conservative Ds.”
“If we get to it today — and it looks like it won’t be until Monday” … postpone for 12 hours.”
Bringing up “dead bill” = bad process — use up valuable HouseRep time for bill destined for veto, thereby preventing colleagues from getting to their bills.
“You have to consider other legislation … I’m not going to lose years of good will built up [with members of both parties] in the House …”
need it to get something past [sic.]
still have/need [illegible ... something shot at ... casino bill] … 100 votes [something with a C] … next year].
“can’t be pissing people off.”
light up the governor’s office with message that I’m a Texas poker player who votes and want to be able to play safely and legally in Texas.
Ahh, right, OK … I think I get it. May need to do a follow-up to clarify some of the above.
Here’s what we’re up against … I don’t want to alert them that we’re out here trying to muster up the troops … but the “Shmristian Shmlife Association” put out this memo in an attempt to deliver us a bad beat. Also, you can go to [ texans against gambling dot org -- alloneword] to see how they are suddenly putting this issue front and center.
Subject: Governor Perry blocking vote on poker bill-Please call now!
Earlier today the Texas House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on HB 222 â€“- a bill that would license and regulate poker in the state of Texas. I have since learned that this historic moment is being blocked by the Governor Rick Perry.
Please call the Governorâ€™s office today and tell him:
Â· Allow a vote on HB 222
Â· Texans should be allowed to play Texas Holdâ€™em.
Â· Donâ€™t block action on this bill
I know I’m just the political sophomore rookie here, but would he really be willing to go against more than 2/3 of the general voting populace?
With all these last-minute changes and unusual moves … someone is clearly on tilt here. Our opponents (texansagainstgambling.org) launched an all-out assault last night and are fighting har right nowo, so if you want to send any emails — even Jose himself might need a reminder of what we’re here for and who he’s supposed to be representing — you know the drill:
Good-ish article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram earlier this month about Sheldon Adelson’s vocal interest in Texas. Adelson, of course, is the Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, aka The Venetian. Of all the casino billionaires out there, he’s probably shown more than any other a (financial) commitment to poker — not only did he help build the best poker room in Vegas, but he even took a chance on The Real Deal! (Oops.)
Adelson was in Austin the other week testifying before the same Licensing and Administration Procedures Committee that voted 6-3 in favor of poker. You all know about HB 222, but there are actually four gambling-related bills pending in Texas right now:
1. Full-on Vegas-style casino-resorts — 12 of ‘em!
3. Slot machines (VLT’s they call them) in the race tracks
4. Online Lottery
Of these four, poker is a little different, because various authorities in the state have already ruled it enough of a game of skill that it doesn’t require a constitutional amendment. Hopefully, Gov. Rick Perry will see it the same not-quite-gambling way, should we get that far, as he has promised suggested he might-well veto any gambling bills sent to his desk.
Clearly, and for obvious reason, Adelson isn’t letting any political posturing deter his efforts to make Texas more Venetian-friendly. But knowing that … man, yo, Shelly, how ’bout throwing a little scratch HB 222′s way! Think of it as a hedge …
Semi-related to poker: Kinky Friedman has declared his intent to become the Democratic candidate for Texas governor in 2010. This is good news for poker, if only because he’s the only previous candidate who has championed the desire/need for fully legal poker in Texas on the stump.
Meanwhile, current Republican Gov. Rick Perry is talking recession secession. All I’ll say about that is Texas! Texas! Woooo TEXAS! interesting. But in some way this is actually kinda good for poker … because while Perry has vowed to veto any gambling legislation that comes across his desk, he’s kinda tying his hands now, delivering strong rhetoric about honoring the will of the people. Could be used against him, or at least to negotiate.
Is luck in the cards for casino, slot machine bills?
Proponents of expanded gambling in Texas will be back in full force this session, fighting for Las Vegas-style casinos, slot machines at racetracks, tribal gaming rights and legalized poker.
Bills to open casino gambling statewide are unlikely to go far, though the struggling economy may give them slightly more traction. Even if a bill passed, Gov. Rick Perry would probably veto it.
But measures granting special permission for the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua tribes to reopen their casinos â€“ shuttered in 2002 after a court order by then-Attorney General John Cornyn â€“ may well succeed. The tribal reservations have struggled to fund basic services since the casinos that ran their local economies closed, and very narrowly missed getting legislation approved last session.
Past efforts to legalize slot machines at racetracks have fallen prey to industry infighting, but the horse racers and breeders are presenting a unified front this year. Though they would appear to have an ally in likely House Speaker Joe Straus, who has financial ties to the Retama Park racetrack his father helped found, it’s still unclear what good it will do. Straus has said that in his new role, he will do nothing to further racetrack legislation.
FACT: Advocates of legalized poker have filed legislation to develop a regulated poker gaming system in Texas.