The push to expand gambling in Texas has been one of the state’s ongoing debates and has received significantly more attention in recent years.

Near the end of the 2021 legislative session, Las Vegas Sands—a pro-gambling organization—launched a multi-million dollar public relations campaign to expand gambling in Texas. Then in 2022, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he’d like to build a new stadium in Dallas within the context of a casino super complex.

Now, Sands is again attempting to expand gambling in Texas by re-upping the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, a special interest front group it created to back its unsuccessful bid to legalize casinos during the 2023 legislative session. The alliance is circulating a petition to legalize casino-style gaming.

In 2023, Legislation to approve online sports gambling saw progress in the House on the strength of Democrat support, while casinos were rejected by all but 28 Republicans in the House.

Texas Scorecard asked all runoff candidates whether Texas should allow for gambling expansion to include sports-betting and/or casinos.


Senate District 30

Brent Hagenbuch: “No. While some Texans may support an expansion of gaming, I do not believe it will benefit our people in the long run – therefore I would be reluctant to support it. The long-term social and cultural side effects outweigh any short-term economic gains. If Texans choose to seek out these activities, options exist just a short drive or flight away.”

Jace Yarbrough: “I do not support expanded gambling options in the state of Texas, whether Casino or sports betting. To those who think society should legalize every vice—asking “What’s the harm?”—I would point them to the very visible harms caused by gambling addiction and irresponsible betting by those least able to afford it. It ruins lives and tears families apart. There’s a reason Texas bans it.”


House District 1

Chris Spencer: “I do not support expanding gambling in Texas. Gambling destroys families and livelihoods.”

State Rep. Gary VanDeaver did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 12

Ben Bius: “Gambling is an insidious and highly addictive threat to our social norms and I am absolutely opposed to any expansion of gambling in Texas, period. Gambling preys upon the weakest, most vulnerable in our society and brings with it a myriad of problems, not just financial. Gambling can lead to relationship and legal problems, job loss, mental health problems including depression, anxiety, even suicide. It also brings with it an increase of crime and the introduction of the worst elements in society. It has no place in Texas. Instead of looking for ways to expand gambling in Texas, we should be seeking ways to curtail the myriad of gambling opportunities already available in the Lone Star State including those that were promoted to our citizens as a means to fund and improve our schools, when in fact, they have done nothing of the sort. My opponent has indicated he has already met with gambling expansion proponents and sees it as a viable option for Texas. I do not!”

Trey Wharton: “Well-regulated and controlled expansion of gambling would offer new avenues for investment and economic growth in Texas. As a conservative committed to reducing property tax burdens and exploring innovative revenue sources, I believe it’s important to consider all options that can contribute positively to our state’s economy. Any potential expansion must be approached thoughtfully and responsibly, with a focus on maximizing benefits for Texans.”


House District 21

David Covey: “Texas should not expand gambling options. Dade Phelan claims that building casinos in Texas would “improve the lifestyle of those communities” because they gave over $200,000 to his campaign. In reality, casinos only serve to make themselves money – not the community around them.”

Speaker Dade Phelan did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 29

Neither Jeffrey Barry nor Alex Kamkar responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 30

AJ Louderback: “The concerns of law enforcement and our local communities have not been addressed by proponents of expanded gambling in Texas. Crime and social issues follow gambling, and while I will carefully consider any legislation to cut property taxes, I cannot support this legislation at this time.”

Jeff Bauknight did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 33

Katrina Pierson: “I am unequivocally opposed to expansion of gambling in Texas. The research is clear: more gambling creates weaker families and destabilizes communities. We don’t need to bring those problems to Texas. We should be passing law that strengthen the family and make our communities safer, cleaner, and more business friendly.”

State Rep. Justin Holland did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 44

Alan Schoolcraft: “While serving in the U.S. Air Force, I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. I saw firsthand the corruption and other crime problems that were brought by big gambling industries.  We already have serious crime problems from our border crisis. I want to insure Texas goes down the right path to keep crime and corruption at bay. My opponent on the other hand has received $130k from gambling entities this election cycle alone.”

State Rep. John Kuempel did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 58

Helen Kerwin: “I will not support the expansion of gambling in Texas.”

State Rep. DeWayne Burns did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 61

Keresa Richardson: “I am not in favor of expanding gambling in Texas. Legalized gambling brings with it a myriad of negative impacts on society. Expansion of gambling in any form is addictive, and leads to an increase in crime and family violence. Studies have found an association between problem gambling and poverty at both individual and community levels.”

State Rep. Frederick Frazier did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 64

Andy Hopper: “No—I completely concur with plank #79 of the Texas Republican Party Platform.”

State Rep. Lynn Stucky did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.


House District 91

David Lowe: “No, gambling is a vice and does not align with conservative or Texas values. I do not support gambling expansion.”

State Rep. Stephanie Klick: “Unlike my opponent, I have always been on record as being opposed to expansion of gambling of any kind, and my voting record proves that.”


House District 97

Cheryl Bean: “Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has already stated he will not pass gambling in the senate, so wasting time and taxpayer dollars on the issue is a moot point, especially when we have border issues, property taxes, and school choice on the table.”

John McQueeny did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry.

Amelia McKenzie

Amelia is a senior at Liberty University in Virginia. She is studying Digital Journalism and is currently a fellow with Texas Scorecard.