The state of Texas is one of the least friendly states in the country to commercial gambling, but former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke says his state should have it.
O’Rourke said in a recent press conference that online sports gambling could benefit the Lone Star State. O’Rourke, a former Democratic presidential hopeful, is trying to unseat current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.
“From listening to Texans across the state, it’s one, a very popular proposal, and two, it would also help us address some of the challenges we have in reducing inflation and property taxes in the state,” O’Rourke said, according to reports. “So I think that warrants a very close look and it’s something I’m inclined to support.”
O’Rourke also indicated he’d support Las Vegas-style casinos in the state.
Texas has long been a feeder market to Las Vegas or Louisiana, but the likes of Las Vegas Sands have tried lobbying for the legalization of casinos there.
In the absence of casinos, the state has seen a boom in so-called social poker clubs that don’t charge a traditional rake but instead take in revenue from membership and seat fees, along with amenities.
A survey conducted in 2021 by the University of Houston shows that the majority of Texans support expanding gambling and bringing casinos to the Lone Star State.
O’Rourke’s candidacy for governor is pegged at a longshot.