Although conservative Texas officials oppose expanded gambling, Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director Gary Grief and staff members recently met with Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk to discuss sports betting, online wagering and casino games. In an October 8, Grief thanked Kirk for a tour of that state’s operations, noting he was “extremely impressed” and appreciated receiving information “that I know will be very helpful as our state begins to consider other forms of lottery games in the future.” Currently Texas offers lottery games including Powerball and Lotto Texas and scratch-off tickets.
Texas Lottery Commission spokeswoman Kelly Cripe noted while Grief’s letter only referred to traditional lottery games and scratch tickets, the agency is “always considering new lottery games. Though we may not offer these games, we want to be knowledgeable of the industry so that we may serve as a resource to the legislature should they decide to consider these other forms of gaming. As we continue our mission to generate revenue for Texas, we are very mindful and respectful that it is the Texas legislature that sets policy.”
Governor Greg Abbott’s spokesman John Wittman said Abbott “supports current state law and does not support the expansion of gambling. He noted expanding gambling would require legislative approval, which failed during the 2015 session.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued a statement noting, “Our state constitution narrowly defines legal gambling in Texas. I expect the Lottery Commission to leave it to the legislature before expanding.”