Though any gambling expansion proposal in Texas faces very long odds, some lawmakers there are trying to continue the fight to bring poker to the Lone Star State.

Since Texas has limited gambling — compared to some states — a venture into the online poker realm seems farfetched. However, a pair of similar measures filed Tuesday would allow Texas to opt into a federal online poker regulatory regime, should lawmakers on Capitol Hill ever approve legislation. Senate Bill No. 1103 and Senate Joint Resolution No. 43 are contingent on Congress acting. A Congressman from Texas is expected to reintroduce such a measure this year, but his efforts also face a tough road ahead.

House Bill No. 2098, which was filed on Feb. 28, aims to legalize “social poker gaming.” Establishments authorized to run this form of poker would only be allowed to offer games to “registered players” and the house couldn’t profit — kind of like a home game.

Another measure currently being pondered is House Bill No. 292, which was introduced in December and hasn’t had any action since mid-February. The legislation would establish “regulated poker gaming” at licensed gambling facilities, such as tribal joints, bingo halls and pari-mutuels, which Texas already has. Traditional casinos are not legal in the state.

The state has 26 million people, and so it could bring in quite a lot of revenue from poker, whether it’s on the Internet or in the brick-and-mortar setting.


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