Texas Bill Aims to Legalize PokerPublished November 26, 2008 by OCR Editor
The home of Texas Holdem could soon return to the poker fold.
An amended bill seeking to legalize and regulate poker rooms has been introduced in the state legislature.
Democratic State Representative Jose Menendez re-launched HB222 in the House of Representatives after a previous attempt to introduce laws legalizing and regulating poker fell apart at the committee stage.
If passed, the Poker Gaming Act 2009 would require that all poker gaming in Texas be regulated and licensed by the Texas Lottery Commission.
The bill will allow for a wide range of applicants to host poker gaming, including bars, tribal-gaming interests and charitable organizations.
The bill would also form a Poker Gaming Revenue Fund, which would be used on social projects for the homeless.
Menendez told local radio he is not interested in seeing poker rooms "on every corner around the state," pointing out that the aim of this bill was to ensure the game could exist in a regulated format.
Poker, Texas style
Texas is obviously a big poker-playing state, given that it was there that Texas Holdem, the most popular variant of poker in the world today - was invented around a century ago.
Menendez noted that there is a need to amend the current laws banning the game to make room for certain instances in which poker is played, such as the need for a venue to collect a bit of the pot to pay for certain things such as air-conditioning.
He justified the bill on the grounds that requiring licensing would prevent the proliferation of poker rooms and that it would also improve security, given that illegal poker games are an easier target for robbers who know they have nothing to fear from police involvement.