Texas casino referendum could be on the ballot come November

The United States Supreme Court ruled in June that Texas tribes could keep holding bingo games on their tribal territory. The dispute between the tribes and the state, which has been going on for more than 25 years, has made clear the boundaries of state law in terms of what may be done on Native American territories.

Now, the Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision allowing the Tigua Indians of El Paso to run bingo at an entertainment complex in El Paso may have significant ramifications for the campaign for gambling in Texas.

Legal experts believe the state should prepare for how the verdict could change the broader Texas gambling environment, because Native American tribes in the state may want to establish casinos, provide internet gambling, or even sports betting to Texans who now have few legal gambling choices in the region – bettors can check the map of Texas casinos in detail here.

Justice Neil Gorsuch of the Supreme Court wrote the opinion, which also included Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. In his decision, Gorsuch dismissed Texas’ claim that its bingo regulations forbid the kinds of games the tribe offers.

Analysts believe the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, which has been at odds with Texas authorities over bingo activities on its territory, might also gain from the decision.

Expanding into the Lone Star state

Las Vegas Sands, which has been attempting to get a foothold in the highly lucrative Texas market for years, will definitely be one of the first operators to move to benefit from the new possibilities in Texas.

Casino businesses are growing in Texas’ surrounding states like Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico, and a large portion of their revenue comes from Texans who cross state lines to gamble and play games. Texas politicians who support gambling have long complained about the substantial gaming earnings that their neighbors enjoy and that, in their opinion, should remain in Texas.

One of these locations is the WinStar World Casino and Resort of the Chickasaw Nation, which is situated in Thackerville, Oklahoma, just across the state border from Texas. Every year, WinStar hosts hundreds of thousands of Texas players, largely from the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston regions, on the biggest casino floor in the country.

The road ahead

In the future, according to market analysts, the SCOTUS decision may help forward discussions about the potential licensing of casinos in Texas.

The development might also be significant for Las Vegas Sands, which has been a key advocate for the legalization of casinos in Texas. For Penn National Gaming, Caesars Entertainment, and Boyd Gaming, who all draw Texan guests to their casinos in nearby Louisiana, the presence of casinos in Texas may be a drawback.

The State legislature dismissed Las Vegas Sands’ plan for casino gambling last year, but the firm is now establishing a Political Action Committee to try again. Legislators who support gambling feel that the public is firmly in favor of casinos and want to see a referendum on the subject on the ballot by the end of the current year. According to analysts, the Supreme Court decision supports those who want to bring casinos to Texas.

In the near future, Las Vegas Sands has said that it would collaborate with the Texas Legislature to place a casino referendum on the November ballot. However, it is predicted that Texas casinos would have some difficulties. The Supreme Court ruling is also considered as potentially provoking a conflict in the future about Class III commercial gambling in general between the tribes, the State of Texas, and the Governor’s office.

Sports betting also in the talks

When the subject of sports betting is brought up, the stakes become much higher. Although Texas does not yet have legalized sports betting, Louisiana has, and Texas has contributed significantly to Louisiana’s $12.6 million in sports betting tax income.

This is particularly true in the western region of Louisiana, where a large number of Texas mobile sports bettors have been frequenting the casinos in the Lake Charles and Shreveport-Bossier areas.

Texas, meanwhile, has expressed opposition to legalizing the sector there, but the Supreme Court’s decision allowing native tribes to run casinos on their reservations may be the match in the powder barrel, as legalized sports betting becomes inescapably inevitable for everyone.

According to many analysts, Texas would quickly overtake other states as the biggest sports betting market in the US if sports betting were to be legalized there, especially given the popularity of football and football betting in the state.