Saturday March 9,2013 : NEW TEXAS MOVE ON INTERNET POKER LEGALISATION
Two proposals launched in the state Senate
Texas legislators could soon be debating US online poker as other US states move toward the implementation of intrastate laws passed recently.
A lively discussion on new Texas moves broke out on the twoplustwo poker forum this week on the news that fresh legislative developments were shaping up in the state notorious for its conservative attitude to gambling.
In what appears to be largely a positioning move, Republican state Senator Leticia R. Van de Putte has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 43 and Senate Bill 1103.
The former, which essentially seeks to amend the Texas state constitution in order to bring Texas on board with any federal legalization of online poker, appears to be supported by House Bill 3529, introduced this week by fellow Republican, Representative John Kuempel, which relates to "….regulation of certain online poker facilities under federal law."
SB 1103 empowers and requires the Texas Lottery Commission to comply with the provisions of any federal online poker legalization bill which may be approved by Congress.
In essence, the proposal prescribes that in the event of such a federal law, the Texas Lottery Commission "…shall promptly adopt all rules and procedures necessary to implement the federal law. The commission shall notify the governor of the date on which all rules and procedures are adopted."
Last year Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton tried unsuccessfully to push through a federal online poker legalization bill and he remains active in commenting on the issues surrounding the subject.
It is tempting to speculate that the Van de Putt proposals are in some way linked to a renewed attempt by Barton, or are perhaps supportive of reports that Nevada Senator Harry Reid is about to take another run at federal legalization, spurred on by the fast developing legalization trend among individual US states .
Representative Kuempel – a sixth generation Texan – is an interesting politician who has pointed out in a recent television interview that a lot has been said about gambling, but that 80 percent of Texans want the right to vote on legalization, whether it be for or against.
He appears to support the idea of a state constitutional amendment sending the legalization issue to a state ballot in November to give people their right to vote one way or the other.
He has noted that Texas is losing a lot of money to the bordering states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana on the land gambling front – perhaps as much as $4 billion dollars a year.
"When you look at it, that’s money we can keep at home, not only just for gambling revenue, then you can think about subsidiary revenues such as food sales, more income tax because it creates more jobs, and I think that the footprint gambling would provide would be a good way to raise revenue in the state," he says, but stresses that when it comes right down to it, giving Texans the right to vote on the issue is "the right thing to do."