Texas Casino Legislation Gives Licensing Edge To Racetracks - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Texas Casino Legislation Gives Licensing Edge To Racetracks

Texas State Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) on Friday filed House Joint Resolution 97 that would authorize casino gaming at seven destination resorts across the state and require license applicants be limited to racetrack associations or designees of those associations.

The legislation seeks to amend the Texas Constitution and give Texans the opportunity to vote on the issue this November. State Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) previously filed a similar resolution in the Senate.

“Polling over the last year makes it clear that more than 85 percent of Texans want the right to vote on this issue, Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Geren. “It is high time that the legislature listens to the voters and allow them to decide this issue.”

If passed and approved in a statewide vote, the casinos would be regulated by a newly created Texas Gaming Commission. Geren projects the casinos would create tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in economic development through tourism, and billions more in tax revenue to state and local governments.

The bill calls for two destination resort casinos in both the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas, plus one each in San Antonio, McAllen, and Corpus Christi metropolitan areas. Minimum investment in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston casinos is $2 billion each, with lower requirements for the other locations.

For each location, the bill requires initial license applicants be either a local racetrack association licensed on Jan. 1, 2022, or be an individual designated by a racetrack association. The three Class 1 tracks in the state are Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie (Dallas-Fort Worth area), Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, and Retama Park in San Antonio. The bill requires that any track that also secures a casino license maintain a number of live racing dates equal to or greater than the number of dates run in 2022.

Lone Star Park is owned by Global Gaming, a division of the Chickasaw Nation that operates Remington Park in Oklahoma City and the massive WinStar World Casino and Resort on the Texas border in southern Oklahoma – just 80 miles north of Lone Star Park.

Sam Houston Race Park is owned by Penn Entertainment, formerly Penn National Gaming, which also operates Retama Park.

Legalization of sports wagering is also included in Geren's bill, which states that it can only take place in a place and manner approved by the legislature. The bill calls for a 15 percent tax on gross casino gaming revenue and an unspecified tax on sports betting.

Text of House Joint Resolution 97


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