Casino resorts die in Texas Legislature

Billionaire Mark Cuban pushed for legal gambling, but Texas House votes weren't there

Mark Cuban and Representative Charlie Geren

Mark Cuban and Representative Charlie Geren (Getty, Charlie Geren via Facebook)

Casino resorts could make Texas the top-ranked tourism state in the nation. That’s according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, but Texas lawmakers won’t be green-lighting gambling in this session of the Texas Legislature, which ends May 29.

The Texas House of Representatives killed a proposal, authored by Rep. Charlie Geren, that aimed to open up Texas’ metro areas to gambling casinos attached to hotel, retail and entertainment districts, but the proposal advanced further than similar proposals from the past, the Dallas Morning News reported

The proposal called for a referendum in the Nov. 7 election that would’ve allowed Texas voters to decide if they should be legal. The legislation was abandoned after it became clear there weren’t enough votes for approval in the Texas House.

The billionaire business mogul and Shark Tank star said Texas doesn’t have a year-round attraction that makes it a “dream” destination for big events.

“Ask your out-of-state friends how often they have saved up to (bring) their family to Texas,” Cuban told the outlet. “Ask anyone how often they look forward to coming here during the summer. You already know the answer.”

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The gambling aspect isn’t as important as overall tourism, he said. Casino resorts could make way for more Broadway-style shows, sporting events and entertainment for children, he said. 

The House at least approved legislation that would legalize mobile sports betting in Texas, via voter referendum, but this isn’t the session for sports betting either, as the Texas Senate doesn’t support it.

Casino company Las Vegas Sands has made a push for casino resorts in the Lone Star State, hiring a swarm of Austin lobbyists and donating millions to sway Texas lawmakers.

—Quinn Donoghue

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