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Super Stardust Slot Machine – 8 guests play slot machines at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles on Monday, December 8, 2014. (James Nielsen/Houston IL) James Nielsen/Staff Show more Show less

Check out 2 of 8 bettors odds for the Tuesday, January 27, 2004 Super Bowl at the Stardust Hotel and Casino’s sportsbook in Las Vegas. Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day for sports betting in Las Vegas, and visitors fill casinos to bet and watch the game. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta)JOE CAVARETA/Associated PressShow MoreShow Less

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7 of 8 slot machines in the casino on the cruise liner Symphony of the Seas. LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty ImagesShow MoreShow Less

AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court may clear the way for states to legalize betting on sports events, but don’t expect the Texas Legislature to make such a move anytime soon.

While expanding gambling in Texas has been a nonstarter in the Legislature for years, demands for new and additional revenue sources continue to grow. Religious leaders, conservative groups and Republican legislative leaders have worked to keep a lid on the expansion.

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“We’re likely to see tofu as the state’s official chili before we see major gaming expansion in Texas, assuming Republicans still control state government,” said University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus.

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling struck down the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which outlaws betting on football, basketball and other sports in most states, with Nevada being a notable exception.

Except on select Indian reservations, Texas has not legalized casino gambling. Pari-mutual betting is legal at licensed horse and dog race tracks. Legislators and legislative observers have long believed that the next expansion of gambling in Texas would come along those tracks.

The latest proposal to expand gambling comes from Houston investor Andrew White, a Democratic gubernatorial runoff candidate. He recently proposed an ambitious $9 billion package of education reforms, including teacher pay raises, which would be further funded by allowing slots at race tracks and possibly table games.

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Eventually, White said he would be open to allowing casinos in destination resort areas like Kemah on the Texas Gulf Coast. The stockyards in Fort Worth were mentioned as a possible location.

In the wake of Monday’s ruling, White said in a statement, “Betting on sports is a gamble, but betting on a child’s education is a sure win. We have to invest in our schools, and if betting on sports helps create additional money for schools, I’m all for it.”

White’s Democratic runoff opponent, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, said he was pleased the court gave states the power to chart their own course on sports betting.

“My first priority is making sure everyday Texans have the good government they deserve,” Valdez said.

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“I believe that decisions about whether or not gambling should be allowed in our communities should be left up to Texans. This includes lifting state bans on sports betting and helping local communities find ways to determine their own laws and policies. Any revenue from gambling goes toward education and public services that help working Texans in Texas. should go towards and not as a means of paying handouts to big corporations.”

“The political stakes are high for Republicans to support expansion,” Rottinghaus noted. “Leadership generally does not prioritize this expansion of gaming, and it would take an epic budget crisis to scramble more lawmakers to find funding for gambling in any significant form.”

Plus, any major expansion has to go before voters, and that’s a tough sell in Texas. So, even if changes do come, they are likely to be incremental.

“Amending the constitution would require two-thirds of lawmakers to approve a full-scale gambling expansion with a majority of voters. This double hurdle is unlikely in a conservative-leaning state. We could see gaming expand with margins, like some specific games or in set areas, but any change will be slow,” Rottinghaus said.

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He noted that conservatives still have concerns that allowing more gambling could increase crime in the state.

“The potential revenue for the state is substantial but most conservatives worry about ancillary crimes such as gambling, prostitution or organized crime,” Rottinghaus said.

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