Texas Governor Slams Online Gambling HopefulsPublished November 17, 2015 by Elana K
Texas Governor Greg Abbot wrote a strongly-worded letter last week to the Chairman of the Texas Gamblng Commission, stating in no uncertain terms that he would not allow online gambling in Texas.
While states such as Pennsylvania and California have been strongly considering legalizing online gambling, Texas just received a jolting red light from the state’s governor, Greg Abbot.
Last week, Abbot wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Texas Gambling Commission that he “wholeheartedly” supports the state’s prohibition on online gambling, and that it is a matter of protecting its citizens.
Why Did Abbot Speak Up Now?
It had recently come to light that the Texas state regulator had been gathering information on online gambling (particularly sports betting and fantasy sports) to determine whether it could be an option for the Lone Star State. In October, the commission executive director, Gary Smith, went on a fact-finding mission to Delaware to see online gambling operations first-hand.
Which is why Abbot also included in his letter than any future staff requests to travel to gather information should be denied.
The State of Gambling in Texas
Today, the only forms of gambling that are legal in Texas are the state lottery, charitable bingo, raffles, horse racing and one Indian casino.
In 2013, Texas lawmakers tried to veto even the lottery, but quickly realized that the income it brings in, to the tune of 2.2 billion dollars every two years, is not something that can easily be made up.
This year, a bill was introduced to expand land-based gambling activities, but it was quickly vetoed by the conservative majority of the state legislature.
Online Gambling in the States
As of now, three states have legalized online gambling in the United States: New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. At the same time that other states are considering regulating online gambling, Sen. Jason Chaffetz is pushing a bill, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), that would make online gambling illegal at a federal level. While it doesn’t seem likely that this bill will pass, a second hearing for it has been scheduled in Congress.