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Jerome García January 3, 2023 2 min read
Debate on Gambling Expansion to Continue in Texas
Lawmakers in Texas may once again discuss options for possible gambling expansion
Next week Tuesday will mark the start of the 88th Texas Legislature’s regular season. According to a report released by the Baptist Standard, lawmakers in the state are likely to resist pushes for the expansion of gambling.
Expansion of Gambling and School Vouchers: Hot Topics in Texas
Texas currently offers limited options for gambling such as raffles, charitable bingo and parimutuel wagering on greyhound and horse racing. Since 2018, there have been multiple attempts to legalize sports betting and expand gambling which have not succeeded in Texas. More recently, a bill proposes licensing of up to nine casino operators in the state. The proposal was pushed forward by Senator Carol Alvarado and it calls for the establishment of four casinos, as well as enabling sports betting licensing. With that in mind, Baptists in the state are strictly against the expansion of gambling.
During the new legislative season, Texas lawmakers will be facing a $27 billion budget surplus. This marks a significant difference considering that previously, in light of the pandemic, budgets were tight. At the same time, the budget surplus doesn’t mean that the legislators can burn through money but rather fit within a specifically set cap on spending.
“The challenge legislators face is making improvements that can be sustainable for the future.“John Litzler, director of public policy at the Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission
John Litzler, the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission’s director of public policy, revealed that for the new season, similar bills to what was filed in the past can be expected. He explained that a prime challenge for legislators is to select sustainable proposals. According to Litzler, “permanent solutions” are needed rather than “just a one-time fix, working with extra money.”
Besides the expansion of gambling, a separate proposal that may be reviewed calls for vouchers for private education. The so-called “school choice” proposal enables state funds to be forwarded to private schools by the public. This is undoubtedly another hot topic that will capture the attention of lawmakers. Still, they will have plenty of time to debate, considering that the legislative session that starts next week will run through the end of May.