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Silvia Pavlof December 4, 2023 3 min read
Lt. Gov. Patrick Highlights GOP Senate’s Opposition to Casinos in Texas
The gambling legalization debate has been heightened by Mark Cuban's recent decision to sell a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, making a strong comeback after a month-long battle with pneumonia, spoke exclusively to CBS News Texas at the Capitol on December 1, emphasizing the lack of support among GOP senators for the introduction of casinos in Texas.
Casino Controversy Amplifies as Mavericks’ Stake Sale Fuels Gambling Speculations
Patrick stated that he felt fine and mentioned that it would take him some time to regain 100% energy. He indicated that he was a long way from where he had been, addressing the progress of his health recovery.
While Patrick’s return to the Senate spotlighted the issue of casino gambling, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban‘s recent move to sell a majority stake to Miriam Adelson has intensified the debate. Adelson, the widow of casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, shares Cuban’s vision of a new arena in downtown Dallas as part of a casino resort. However, any such venture in Texas necessitates a constitutional amendment.
In the interview, Patrick revealed that, based on his experience and knowledge, they were not even close to having 15 votes or 16 votes for casinos. He cited the lack of public outcry after rejected bills supporting casinos during the recent legislative session as evidence of the Senate’s stance.
Mark Cuban’s vision for resort casinos in the state, coupled with the Adelson family’s political influence and financial resources, could serve as a catalyst for advocating legislative changes.
Patrick Points Fingers as Casino Debate and Legislative Delays Unfold
Patrick, however, emphasized the necessity for casino operators to independently garner support among House and Senate members. He dismissed the notion that Gov. Abbott, Speaker Dade Phelan, or he himself held the key to such decisions. He stated that significant changes do not occur overnight and stressed the importance of getting in the trenches and grinding it out.
In a surprising turn, Patrick blamed Speaker Phelan for the delay in addressing a constitutional challenge that threatens property tax cuts and increased funds for retired teachers. The Senate proposed and passed a bill, SB 6, aimed at expediting the court challenge, though a similar bill was not filed in the House, leading Patrick to accuse Phelan of negligence.
The ongoing clash between Patrick and Phelan escalated as the former accused the House of dysfunction. Amidst these disagreements, speculations about a potential fifth special session have arisen. When asked about it, Patrick cautiously suggested waiting until February 5, 30 days before the Texas primary election, for the most productive time to reconvene.