The chances of seeing any progress in gambling legislation in the Lone Star State in the near future are slim, according to Senator John Carona, R-Dallas. Carona expressed his pessimism shortly after making the decision not to move his casino gambling measure out of committee on Tuesday.
The senator called the chances of the bill progressing “very slim” and “as each week passes, the likelihood becomes less and less.”
There are only six weeks left in the current legislative session.
Last week, Senator Carona noted that he expected the bill to come out of the Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee, of which he is chair very shortly, but as the week progressed, it was clear that as the date of the legislation’s hearing approached, nothing was being done about it.
Senate Joint Resolution 64 calls for the right of Texans to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow casino gambling and other types of gambling in the state such as horse racing.
The Senator said that he was told by his fellow lawmakers that they would not be voting on the controversial bill if there was no chance of it advancing.
Pro gambling state representative, John Keumpel (R-Seguin), said that this year was a lacklustre one for any progress of gambling in Texas. “I don’t think it has a great chance over here,” said Keumpel, speaking about Senator Carona’s gambling bill. “It’s challenged in the 83rd legislative session in the Texas House.”
While Carona was not willing to admit defeat over his gambling bill just yet, he prepared the groundwork by saying: “Time is always your enemy in a legislative session.”
Should a special session be called over the state funding of public education, Carona and Keumpel believe that may be a chance that the gambling bill could be pushed through, and for now it remains the legislation’s best hope.
“As more and more states pass legalization or expanded gaming, with Texas being one of only 10 states left that don’t, I think the opportunity will present itself if not during this session then perhaps next or [during] a special session on school finance, should there be one,” said Carona.