Bluff magazine reported on the 17th of May that the latest attempt to legalize poker in Texas has ended in failure after Rep. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) officially suspended his House Bill 222.
Rep. Menendez reasons for suspending the bill seem to be his growing realization of the amount of opposition that it would face, not least from the Governor of the State of Texas, Rick Perry.
Governor Perry is on the record as as promising to veto this, and any other pro-gambling legislation. The next serious attempt to legalize Texas Hold’em in Texas will probably not be taken until after the next State election, which hopefully will produce a governor that is less anti-gambling.
In his statement withdrawing the bill from the House agenda, Rep. Menendez said “You need to know when to hold them and you need to know when to fold them”.
That statement shows a shrewd understanding of what must have been a gamble all along, because it was evident from the beginning that no matter how many stages the bill passed on the way, ultimately the showdown would be with the Governor, and his veto power.
Ultimately, the play here was that the progress of the bill would raise enough public support and backing along the way that it would present a much stronger hand when it came to the House vote. Rep Menendez withdrew the bill last Thursday when it became apparent that the gamble had not paid off this time.
A significant element of the suspended bill, especially in these hard economic times, was the proposal to allow local communities to vote for or against allowing poker in their own community, and to allow the communities that voted in favor to issue the poker license thereby raising much need finance.
As with any law that protects people from themselves, one has to wonder just who the anti-gambling stance is protecting.
It certainly isn’t protecting those poker players that voluntarily choose to gamble their own money in currently unlicensed games. These players are not only at the risk of being raided by Law Enforcement and having their funds confiscated, but they are also in danger of being robbed by criminals that know that poker games are outside the law.
This bill in reality only recognized and tried to regulate what is already a fact in Texas, that people want to and will play poker. With enough public support of politicians like Jose Menendez, the next gamble will hopefully pay off.