The bills will now head to the house calendar committee where lawmakers will decide whether they will come up for a vote on the floor of the house.
The first piece of legislation – House Bill 1942 – seeks to legalise online sports betting in the Lone Star state.
The law would establish a regulatory regime with a $500,000 access fee, and a 10% tax on gross gambling revenue. The bill has the support of the Texan sports franchises, mobile operators and former governor Rick Perry.
Since gambling is specifically prohibited under the text of the Constitution of Texas, the bill is accompanied by House Joint Resolution 102 – which would seek to authorise the activity via amendment.
In order for such a measure to pass, the resolution would require two-thirds of both chambers to agree to it, as well as a majority of Texan voters in a November special election.
The second proposed law, which is more expansive, is House Bill 2843, which would regulate casino gambling and sports wagering, as well as establish a new regulatory body – the Texas Gaming Commission. Similar to HB 1942, the legislation is accompanied with House Joint Resolution 155, which would alter the state constitution.