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Texas takes steps to legalize live poker

Jose Mendendez, a State Legislator from Texas, has introduced a 40-page bill attempting to legalize the game of poker in the state. Believe it or not, the birthplace of “Texas Hold’em” does not currently allow legal poker games anywhere within the state lines. The bill introduced by Menendez is trying to change that.

Titled “The Poker Gaming Act of 2009”, it’s actually the second time the bill has seen the light of day. A prior version of the bill did pass the first vote from an internal committee that deemed it “viable” to present to for passage. They say timing is everything however and it seemed to be case with the last bill. With the voting season approaching and many supporters of the bill running for re-election, it was determined to be too controversial to potential voters.

Now that the elections have passed in all 50 states with only a few run-offs still to take place, the new bill may just have legs. The Texas Poker Political Action Committee and the Poker Players Alliance, two powerful lobbyist groups with financial backing, are both behind the new bill. Very detailed information can be found inside the 40 page document with things such as licensing and taxes broken down into very granular terms. Of course, this is what drives the political machine and since poker can be very profitable to the players as well as the house, the bill may have a good chance of passing.

The Texas State Legislature meets again on January 13, 2009 and is expected to pass the committee vote again. From there it heads to the House of Representatives and if passed, will take effect on September 1, 2009. We’ll report on the success (or failure) of the bill as updates are made available.

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