Posts Tagged ‘HB 222’

Texas Primed for Gambling Push

by , Feb 25, 2011 | 3:17 pm

source: Texas Tribune

Hungry for Change? Texans apparently are ready for laws that keep gaming dollars in their cash-starved state.

Gaming legislation will again be on the agenda in Pokerati’s beloved home state of Texas — as it has been pretty much continuously since the days when “blue laws” prohibited us from shopping on Sundays. But this year Texas is friggin’ near-broke and public opposition to gambling is minimal, making hopes for passage of new gaming laws more promising.

A poll of registered voters taken earlier this month (conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune) indicates 56 percent support full-on casino resorts in Texas, and fewer than 20 percent oppose any expansion of gambling or want to ban it altogether. A year ago, these numbers stood at 40 and 31 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are wrangling with one of the biggest budget deficits in the country and the need for contentious cuts to education, Medicare, veterans affairs, prisons … and just about every other department in an effort to close a budget shortfall estimated at $11-to-27 billion — bigger than any the state has ever had to face.

But before poker players get too excited about Texas’s economic woes going into the 2011 legislative session… with elevated hopes for gaming-law success (and fully legalized poker) also comes heightened opposition from well-monied morality-driven lobbies, and possibly cut-throat intra-ideological competition over whose bill gets the biggest push. And that doesn’t even begin to address the uncertain but possibly critical stake of the Chickasaw …


WinStar Nation Closer to Owning Lone Star Park

Poker-friendly Indians coming to Texas

by , Sep 16, 2009 | 7:26 am

Oklahoma Indians have long fought against gambling in Texas, but one tribe might be willing to switch teams if they can have this piece of land for $27 million.

Whether it’s a hedge on their part or a sign of things to come … Global Gaming became the “stalking horse bidder” for Lone Star Park yesterday … meaning the Oklahoma Chickasaws have made a $2.7 million deposit (10 percent of their opening bid) toward their serious intent to step across the border and have a hand in the future of Texas gambling.

Should a higher qualified bidder enter the picture, the property will be auctioned off in New York on Oct 7.

Global Gaming LSP, LLC is owned by the Chickasaw Nation, which owns the WinStar World Casino — site of the grandest poker room in the southwest, one patronized almost exclusively by Texans. A week-and-a-half ago the WWC celebrated the grand opening of their new hotel and expanded casino floor, now the 5th 3rd one of the largest in the world.

Lone Star Park, meanwhile, is the beautiful but bankrupt racetrack between Dallas and Fort Worth … a site that would’ve become home to one of the first fully legal Texas poker rooms had HB 222 passed.

In that special-interest political fight earlier this year, Texas poker and horse racing interests joined forces, but ultimately were defeated by a loose-knit alliance of Chickasaws, Choctaws, and radical Christians. Should Global Gaming’s purchase of Lone Star Park go through, however, then one of our strongest opponents would effectively defect to the side that wants to see bigger and better poker in Texas.

Texas Poker Bill, Death of

by , May 18, 2009 | 11:45 am

Watching this almost makes me wanna cry. Do you realize how close we were to turning Texas race tracks into full-fledged poker rooms? I don’t think you do! But alas, in the end we were killed by something akin to an inverse filibuster … and all in the same week that Annie Duke got slowrolled on Celebrity Apprentice …

In what is arguably nearly as compelling drama, in the above vid Rep. Jose Menendez delivers last rites to HB 222 — but not before being ridiculed and taunted with terrible poker metaphors (delivered in practically Corky-like fashion) from the representatives who were ready to lead the fight against this bill on the floor.

While Texas poker players pushing for fully legal Texas Hold’em did not get the House vote they were looking for, Menendez’s address does mark the first time the game was ever made a real issue in the Texas Legislature. Having achieved such footnote status in the historical almanac, the insinuation on where we go from here is that next time both sides should gear up for a full-on battle spirited debate over a bill looking to create California-style card rooms … in a year where the threat of a veto carries less weight, no less.

HB 222 Officially, Really, Dead

by , May 14, 2009 | 4:19 pm

Rep. Menendez has officially killed HB 222 on the floor of the Texas House, knowing that the Gov. won’t pass. He was able to spend a few minutes discussing why it should be allowed to proceed, only to be interrupted by several bad poker-related puns.

Twitter Your Governor

by , May 10, 2009 | 3:40 pm

From the PPA:

Hi all,

Texas Gov. Perry is blocking the vote on HB222 (the bill that legalized land-based poker in Texas).  Let’s all amp up the pressure!

Contact info:
Phone: (800) 252-9600
Twitter: @GovernorPerry

I believe we should hit with calls and Twitters.  This was effective at getting us heard in Minn., so let’s try it here.  I wrote up some Tweets to Twitter.  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:

Click here to send the direct message: “D GovernorPerry: Texas Hold’em is a game of skill that should be legal in Texas. Can you end your HB222 vote block? THX!”

I posted this to P5s at and .  If you get a chance, please consider posting a message of encouragement there to get others to pitch in.  After all, 2+2 responded to this by giving me a warning; P5s responded by stickying my thread for the day (I didn’t ask them to).



Money Plays: Perry Takes More Gambling Money than Most

by , May 9, 2009 | 7:04 pm

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
  Recipient (Party)
 Lt. Governor David Dewhurst(R)  Choctaw
 Stars Over Texas PAC(R)  Choctaw
 Lt. Governor David Dewhurst(R)  Chickasaw
 TX Repub. Legislative Caucus(R)  Chickasaw
 Attorney General Greg Abbott(R)  Choctaw
 Sen. Kip Averitt(R)  Choctaw
 Sen. Kim Brimer(R)*  Choctaw
 Rep. Tom Craddick(R)  Chickasaw
 Sen. Bob Deuell(R)  Choctaw
 Sen. Kevin Eltife(R)  Choctaw
 Sen. Chris Harris(R)  Choctaw
 House Dem. Campaign Com.(D)  Chickasaw
 Sen. Jane Nelson(R)  Choctaw
 Sen. Tommy Williams(R)  Choctaw

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.


How to Defeat a Ready-to-Pass Bill: Lie

What we’re really up against

by , | 6:18 pm

I swear this won’t tilt anybody … but here’s the alert sent out Thursday by Texans Against Gambling to generate enough support for a change of course that, frankly, I still don’t fully understand.

Via the fair-minded, conservative Off the Kuff

TAG lies have been boldfaced:

Statement from Texans Against Gambling:
Weston Ware, legislative director for Texans Against Gambling, issued this statement today regarding House Bill 222, which legalizes poker, including electronic poker, in Texas. The bill was voted out of Calendars Committee on Thursday and will be scheduled for a floor vote.

“This bill is not about legalizing poker games with friends around the kitchen table. It is a ploy by the pro-gambling industry to crack Texas’ constitutional ban against gambling by making the absurd argument that poker is not a game of chance, but of skill.

“The next time someone uses their skill as a player to get dealt three-of-a-kind, call me.

“HB 222, among other things, would allow electronic poker tables to operate 24/7 in bars and restaurants. These Class III gambling devices mimic the addictive qualities of slot machines based on the speed of play (a good player can go through as many as 12 hands a minute).They have the ability to keep players playing (many video-poker outlets are open 24 hours and it’s not unusual to hear of someone’s playing 36 hours straight). Also, the machines are designed to create the false perception that skill is involved in what is ultimately a game of chance.


RE: Political WTF in Texas (3)

Menendez explains WTF

by , May 8, 2009 | 4:28 pm

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.
  • don’t lie.

Ahh, right, OK … I think I get it. May need to do a follow-up to clarify some of the above.


RE: Political WTF in Texas (2)

What we’re up against

by , | 1:23 pm

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.

The place that needs to hear from YOU is:

RE: Political WTF in Texas

Don’t let poker get Rick-rolled

by , | 12:46 pm

From the PPA:

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 –- 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 Governor’s office today and tell him:

(800) 252-9600

· Allow a vote on HB 222
· Texans should be allowed to play Texas Hold’em.
· Don’t block action on this bill

Please take immediate action!

Proud to play,

Political WTF in Texas?

Bad river card on its way?

by , | 12:31 pm

I’m following the Texas House here.(Boring, not fun.) And all I can say is I think I’m heartbroken before we’re even rollin’.

Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), do we even know you anymore? Supposedly Gov. Rick Perry has re-re-changed his position … and so now Menendez is going to not even let the House have their vote? I honestly just don’t understand. We weren’t getting out of that damn calendars committee without his tacit thumbs-up. We got that, no? But now it’s gone? And even if so … why not force him to veto it … put his political aspirations on the line with international press CardPlayer Italia watching?

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 ( 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:

UPDATE: Don’t spam Jose … he’s very busy right now and reminds us that no, it’s not dead, but the people do need to turn the governor now. Rick Perry’s email:

I’m going to add to my CC … just by chance that gets to him more directly.

Texas Poker Bill to Get Its House Vote

Austin game violently robbed

by , May 7, 2009 | 12:13 pm

As Kevin noticed early this AM (before my post from yesterday doubting the notion went live), Texas’ HB 222 has moved out of the Calendars Committee and is scheduled for a vote on the House floor tomorrow … which means it really should happen by Tuesday at the latest. Woot! Started to get worried there for a bit, but thanks to readers like you and probably the PPA and many others helping the capitol hallway soldiers … The People of Texas, man! … Step 3 of 6 has been successfully completed.

Step 1: Introduce bill
Step 2: Pass through committee
Step 3: Calendars committee

Step 4: House vote
Step 5: Senate vote
Step 6: Governor’s sig

You can see we still have a long ways to go, but Steps 4 and 5 have to be done for sure by May 23, so this is it … we’re about to see if our hard work first steps in the process properly position us to make it through the next all-important three. And by all means, we have to go undefeated … one loss and we’re dead.

Go here or here to send the whole House of Representatives an email letting them know you hear they’ll be voting on HB 222, and that you will really admire them for seeing the sensibility of this legislation.

Meanwhile, as a reminder why this bill is important, RobD in Austin lets us know:

To put a final nail into the coffin of [any] argument against HB222, I was at a Austin poker game last night and we got robbed at gun point (5/7/09, early morning). It was in a nice neighborhood and is known to regulars as FPC. At least two people got beat up. We’re all lucky to be alive. The Travis county sherrif was called and filed a report.

Poker Wars Report: Texas Frontlines

by , | 9:43 am

This is the week … that’s what I’ve hearing from people in Austin and DC regarding legalized racetrack (and Indian Casino) poker in Texas. All seem to be staying on message, too, because that’s the same thing they were saying last week.

But HB 222 isn’t just suffocating at the bottom of the Calendars Committee inbox, supposedly … on the contrary, there’s all sorts of crazy buzzing about. “Chatter” has intensified but gone more private … not much Twittering, just lots of fights and diplomacy on secure Blackberry lines. What I’m picking up via short-wave radio:

It has something to do with the Big Casino bill (also sponsored by Rep. Menendez), which is sitting in the same inbox waiting to be kicked to either the House floor or curb; Gov. Perry (anti-gambling) vs. Spkr. Straus (pro-gambling) drawing either swords or lots, not sure which; talk of a special session, or Secession; month of November comes into play; PPA ready to deploy troops, ammo … time is or is not of essence; something about big games …

Vote on Texas poker bill on Friday House calendar

by , | 9:15 am

For those wondering when HB 222 would make the Texas House calendar, this coming Friday is your lucky day. I’ll leave it to Dan or other Texas legislation experts to interpret the fact that it’s buried on the calendar, but it looks like it’s made some progress, so fingers crossed poker fans

Amy Calistri = Socialist, Closet OU Fan

by , May 5, 2009 | 4:59 am

It’s true. And she’s been palling around with druggies and convicts just so she can “write about it” and (don’t tell anyone I said this) I’m even hearing unconfirmed, squalidly detailed rumors from an imaginary source that she’s got a thing for Somali pirates! I’ll pull short of calling her The Ann Coulter of Poker … but she certainly touched a nerve by questioning the “good fight” behind our beloved little Texas HB 222.

Player safety, protection from shady games, capitalist personal freedom not real enough issues to vote on?

I might be extra-sensitive because, frankly, the bill seems to be stalling in Calendars Committee. Why that is, I’m not sure … they’ve heard our message, they know it has passable support … throw an amendment on if you need to, but c’mon … put us on the agenda already! I’m a little removed from what’s going on in Austin during this hectic part of the Session, but I’m pretty sure if we don’t move the bill forward in like the next -2 days, we might be in trouble … Just sitting there for like two weeks seems odd, assuming it’s ready for a simple yay or nay. I suppose it’s possible we’re getting Fristed somewhere in the process. Or, perhaps they’re just having a sincere intellectual dilemma, inspired by Amy Calistri’s question:

Why Do I Want to Pay a Rake?

Why is the PPA wasting time feigning a “grass roots” issue over a Texas bill whose only beneficiary is commercial poker – in a state where poker is unquestionably legal? … It doesn’t exactly meet my definition of fighting the good fight. I mean, even the banking lobby doesn’t ask me to petition my legislators for higher ATM fees. And they can be shameless.

[OK, deep breath, find peace … no tilt]