Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Rodriguez’

Heating up: Texas Fight for Right to Gamble at Home

by , Jan 14, 2013 | 4:00 pm

Gambling laws in three of Texas’ neighbor states:

Legal gaming: Commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.566 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $1.016 billion

Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $923.9 million

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $204.2 million

Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.478 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $478.4 million

Source: “The Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Racino Gaming in Texas,” a study for Texans for Economic Development

The Texas Legislature convened its 140-day biennial session last week … and right out the gate, gambling is an issue du jour.

Two relevant bills to follow: the poker bill (Rodriguez – HB 292), which looks to provide for legal and regulated live poker at Texas racetracks and elsewhere; and the casino amendment bill (Ellis – SJR 6), which seeks to establish a Texas Gaming Commission by popular vote of the people, allowing for different types of gaming in specified regions.

Though much remains to be seen about current efforts and their ability to finally bring results to disenfranchised Texas poker commuters and pokerati expats, The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial last week suggesting that the people, even in ever-conservative Texas, are ready to push gaming matters forward, even if it results in a casino:

It makes plenty of good points about money realities (see the sidebar to the right) … and challenges newly elected Tea Party reps to show they really believe in principles of fiscal conservatism more so than being in the pockets of social conservatives. But what caught my eye (and fueled my optimism?) was the “Related” box, where you can see a progression of influential opinion on the matter:

It’s a subtle change, but significant, imho. In 2010 it was about how the legislature *should study* … you know like they should, kinda-sorta look at it, and maybe think about it … by 2011, with Session rolling and different casino interests fighting for the business of building resorts, it was *Texans Deserve*. As in yeah they do, because we’re Texans by-darnit!

Now it’s a more active and agressive *Let’s [do this!]*

So … We should think about it (ok, done that), we deserve this (yes we do), so now there’s nothing else to do but act (and your inaction as a legislator is an assault on my intelligence and freedom).

OK, maybe I’m stretching things a bit. But The Dallas Morning News editorial page is hardly some liberal pink sheet. If anything, the Blue-Haired Lady of Texas journalism represents the collective voice of the conservative heart of the Texas GOP (in a region where George W. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Pokerati, Sr. alike currently reside). So this slight variation in word choice over the years reveals not just an evolving willingness to see casino entertainment in Texas, but perhaps more important attaches the notion to matters of fiscal responsibility and the conservative principals that got many of them elected.

Texas Fixin’ to Introduce Legalize Poker Bill

by , Dec 17, 2012 | 2:46 pm

Will this finally be the year? That seems to be the question we ask every year federally, and every other year (for no more than six months) in the state of Texas. But there is a process, and glad to see the notion of legalizing Texas Hold’em as a skill game (worthy of being played for big money in all sorts of different places?) will be part of the legislative conversation in Austin for 2013.

At least that seems to be the plan, with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) pushing the Poker Gaming Act of 2013. House Bill 292. Have only skimmed through it so far myself … (and we know how early drafts can dramatically change) … but on quick glance noticed:

  • Calls for designation of poker as a game of skill, unlike the lottery.
  • Asks to be regulated by the Texas Lottery Commission.
  • Excludes “online poker” from things the bill is trying to legalize (along with “blackjack, hearts, pinochle, rummy, video poker, or Asian card games such as Pai Gow.”)
  • Calls for crackdown on illegal poker rooms.

We’ll see what this bill becomes and where it goes … as well as who’s fighting the good fight for your poker interests in Texas.

In the meantime if you’re from Texas, have you signed the petition yet to put matters of casino gambling in the hands of voters?

Session starts January 8.