The Texas House held a second reading on HJR 102 on Wednesday and saw a vote of 97-44 in favor of the measure. This puts the bill just three votes shy of the 100 required to advance to the Senate. The House will hold a third reading today on the measure and lawmakers are confident that the bill will get the remaining three votes.
Texas Sports Betting Bill Sees Support In The House
After the results of the votes following the second reading, bill sponsor Rep. Jeff Leach stated he was “hopeful and expectant” for the measure to pass. There are two members who voted absent on the measure but voted in favor of the casino bill HJR 155 during the same hearing.
Reps. Genu Wu and Yvonne Davis could potentially be swayed toward voting in favor. They already have shown support for gambling in Texas with their favorable casino vote. With Leach’s confidence in the measure gaining support, today’s third reading could see the measure advance.
The real battle will commence once HJR 102 advances to the Senate. Lawmakers will face an uphill battle to have the bill advance further.
Senate Support Low In Texas
Texas lawmakers are already pushing legislation in the Senate to pass sports betting. This measure has seen little support from the Senate. While lawmakers were deliberating the measures, Lt Gov. Dan Patrick declared that Senate members oppose the bill.
“Our members have been clear: they’re not in support today,” said Patrick on the Mark Davis Show. “We don’t have any votes in the Senate. Couldn’t find one senator who supported it.”
The House and Senate bills are identical measures. If HJR 102 advances to the Senate, it could be dead on arrival unless Senators can be swayed. Pushback has been apparent since the bills were announced and lawmakers in support have not managed to sway voters.
The measure is a constitutional amendment, meaning that it would require a statewide vote to pass. Even if the bill somehow manages to advance out of both House and Senate, it would be up to residents to legalize betting. Regardless of the result of today’s reading, Texas’ push for sports betting has a long road ahead.