Quick draw lottery games could be coming to Texas bars

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - State lawmakers quickly gave an initial green light last month to a bill that would allow bars to operate quick draw lottery games.

House Bill 817 would allow establishments with certain licenses or permits issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to host the games.

Drawings would be held 12 to 15 times per hour between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 a.m.

It would be up to the Texas Lottery Commission to iron out the details of the game, like ticket prices, payout amounts and specific rules.

“Man, my initial gut tells me it’s something that would be fun,” Mike Dent, the owner of Wings Pizza N Things in Temple, told KWTX.

“It would help maybe attract more customers and maybe get them to stay here a little longer, eat more food and hang out with their friends,” he said.

At a committee hearing for the bill last month, its author, state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, said the bill would help bars recover from pandemic-related financial losses.

“We have asked restauranteurs and bar owners to be creative — bend over backwards — to try to figure out how to exist,” Moody said at the hearing.

“The least we can do as they steer out of this is to give them another tool in the toolbox to continue that creativity,” he said.

Moody said that the bill would contribute $300 million over the next five years to the Foundation School Program, which is the primary funding source for Texas school districts.

Dent said his only concern with the bill is that the games could become an “addiction of some sort.”

He also said he would like to learn more about how transferring money works and what the staffing requirements for his bar might look like.

Some opponents have said that quick draw lottery games are too similar to casino games and, therefore, could not be used in Texas without a constitutional amendment.

At the hearing, Moody said he does not believe that is true.

The bill now heads to the full House and must also pass through the Senate and be signed by the governor before it could become law.

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