A number of individual US states are considering the various pros and cons of legalizing their online poker industry after Nevada created the first-ever regulatory framework for online gaming last year. The next US state that is seeking to legalize its land poker businesses is Texas. Representative Eddie Rodrigues is all set to introduce the House Bill 292, which is also called the 2013 Poker Gaming Act, which will legalize live poker at the race tracks, reservations, and bingo halls of Texas, if it is approved.
House Bill 292, however, will legalize only Texas Hold’em and other poker games that bear a similarity to Texas Hold’em. It will neither legalize any other casino game such as slots and video poker nor regulate the online poker industry in Texas. The legislature of Texas is scheduled to convene another meeting in January to discuss the pros and cons of this bill.
If the bill is approved, the Texas Lottery Commission will regulate poker as a game of skill and strategy. It will require all online gambling sites offering live poker as well as live dealers and pit bosses to be licensed. Poker rooms that are located on tribal land and near racetracks or form part of bingo halls will be required to pay a tax of 18 percent on their gross proceeds while racetracks will be required to pay a tax of 16 percent on their gross revenue. The bill will exempt reservations from paying taxes on revenue generated by their gaming business.
Let Texans Decide, a group that has been strongly lobbying for a change in Texan casino laws, is expected to be delighted with this piece of news. Although House Bill 292 has nothing to do with casinos and does not permit any slot machine games or house games, Texas will be taking one step closer to gambling regulation by just considering it. Let Texans Decide is of the opinion that a state-level referendum ought to be organized so that voters can make a final decision on whether Texas should legalize its gambling industry or not.
All the US states that border Texas have legalized some form of gambling or the other. According to Let Texans Decide, gamblers from Texas spend as much as $2.5 billion on playing games of chance in the casinos of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Currently, Texas permits gambling only in certain remote tribal casinos and racetracks.