Gaming Legislation Updates: Texas Nixes Casinos, Missouri Comes Up Short on Sports Wagering

Could sports betting and gambling be coming to the Lone Star State? The answer to that question looks to be no – at least at this point. Despite well-funded support from the gaming industry, the casino issue died in the Texas House last week without receiving a vote.

“The fate of House legislation that would have cast the die on creating eight resort-style casinos in the state was sealed Friday, the deadline for the House to move along most bills that originated in that chamber,” the Austin American-Statesman noted.

The House meets only every two years, so supporters will have to wait to revisit the issue. On the sports betting front, things look a bit better. The House approved a sports wagering resolution by a two-thirds vote. The resolution would let voters decide the issue via a statewide vote this November. In Missouri, sports betting legalization also recently came up short.

Details on the Texas Gaming Legislation

The Texas gambling bill would have allowed up to eight casinos around the state. In recent years, the issue has made its way to the Legislature but still hasn’t received enough support to move forward.

All of Texas’ neighboring states allow casino gaming to some degree with potential tax revenue often heading across the border. This year the effort failed again, despite Gov. Greg Abbott (R) even expressing that he’s open to expanded gaming at least in some regard.

“We don’t want slot machines at every corner store, we don’t want Texans to be losing money that they need for everyday expenses, and we don’t want any type of crime that could be associated with gaming,” Abbott’s press secretary Renae Eze told the Houston Chronicle last year. “But, if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Gov. Abbott would take a look at it.”

The sports betting resolution would allow for a statewide election in November. However, that also seems unlikely. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) presides over the Senate and has said there isn’t enough support in the chamber to give the issue a vote.

Despite the setbacks, casino gaming and sports betting seem to be getting closer each legislative session. That at least may offer some hope for supporters.

“Regardless of what the Senate does, Thursday’s vote was a celebration for gambling enthusiasts,” the Statesman noted, “who passed their first measure in the House since the state created the lottery in 1993.”

Missouri Ends Session Without Approving Sports Betting

Texas wasn’t the only state to come up short on gambling bills. Missouri saw the state’s legislative session coming to end without reaching a final decision on sports betting. The Show Me State’s legislation got much closer to reaching the governor’s desk but came with some fireworks before the session came to an end.

The possible passage of the bill was held up during the one-man filibuster of Sen. Bill Eigel (R), according to the Missouri Independent. He argued that conflicting views on sports betting legislation had mired down his top legislative priority, an effort to reduce property taxes.

The newspaper reported that Eigel “spent much of the evening reading aloud from a biography of Ronald Reagan and from the Missouri GOP’s platform, blocking any action on legislation.”

With no action taking place in the Senate, several bills weren’t able to advance and that included the sports betting bill. Many observers expected the bill to pass after being approved in the other half of the legislature. The bill would then move on to Gov. Mike Parson (R).

“The reason we aren’t going to that motion is because some powerful special interests in this building are also hoping to try to add sports betting to the personal property tax bill,” Eigel said, “or maneuver another bill that may include a sports betting provision prior to moving a personal property tax cut.”

Currently, 33 states allow sports betting along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, according to the American Gaming Association. Maine, Nebraska, and Kentucky have also legalized and await the regulatory process. Florida’s gambling bill allowing the Seminole tribe to accept sports betting is stuck in legal limbo.

Bettors in Missouri may have to wait until the next legislative session to see any more movement on the issue. However, all hope may not be lost and there are reports that some of the state’s sports teams may be working to take the issue directly to voters.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted: “As for the next step in the sports betting saga, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals have said they may begin collecting signatures to place a question on the 2024 statewide ballot asking if wagering on athletic events should be legalized.”


Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher.