Texas Legislators Debate Bills to Expand Gambling, Supporters Tout Economic Benefits While Opponents Stress Family Values
Two bills to expand gambling in Texas were debated at a House committee hearing, with supporters emphasizing the economic benefits and opponents stressing the potential harm to families. House Bill 1942 would permit regulated sports betting, while House Bill 2843 would allow casino gambling. Proponents argued that illegal gambling was already prevalent in Texas and that regulated gambling would protect consumers and generate tax revenue. Critics claimed that gambling would be harmful to vulnerable Texans and their families. Jonathan Covey of Texas Values cited consistent evidence of a link between gambling and problems like family violence, while Cindi Castilla of Texas Eagle Forum argued that gambling profits off the losses of average people. Despite these objections, supporters of the bills included professional sports franchises, betting platforms, and gaming companies, who argued that the industry was a big part of the sports and entertainment landscape in Texas and that it would continue to grow with or without legislation.