Update on Texas Poker Legislation

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Things are moving along and looking good. But you know the drill – it’s very important for you to contact your State  Representative and ask them to support HB3186, The Texas Poker Act.

Press release follows:

For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2007

Poker Bill Headed to Full House for Vote

Austin, TX//  HB 3186, The Texas Poker Act, was voted favorably out of committee today.  This paves the way for a vote by the full House of Representatives within the next week.  This will mark the first time the Texas House has considered the regulation of the game of poker.

Representative Jose Menendez, the bill’s sponsor, believes that the benefits of regulating poker in Texas are far reaching.  “Right now, in any size city at almost any time, anyone can find an illegal poker game to play in, ” said Menendez.  “Texas ought to benefit from the game rather than push these millions of dollars into the hands of criminals.”

The version of the legislation that passed out of committee today includes the following provisions:

* Allows certain bars to have poker tables (amount determined by Lottery Commission)
* Allows Racetracks to have poker tables (amount determined by Lottery Commission)
* Allows for charitable poker tournaments
* The state gets a “rake” of every hand played
* Raises additional money for affordable housing

Poker’s recent rise in popularity has led to a dramatic expansion of illegal poker rooms across the state.  In each of these rooms, thousands of dollars are changing hands without any regulation or oversight.  Often times law enforcement must close these rooms down after lengthy expensive investigations that rarely result in much more than misdemeanor penalties.

“Poker could bring in millions of dollars in tourism and television instead of being a law enforcement liability,” said Menendez.

HB 3186 is expected to be brought before the full House within the next week.