GOP senators do not support casinos in Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday. Patrick’s remarks come at a critical time, with the issue of casino gaming in Texas once again in the spotlight.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has sold a majority stake in the team to Miriam Adelson, owner of casino giant Sands Corporation. It is believed the move could catalyze a fresh push to sway Texas lawmakers towards supporting legislation for legalizing sports betting and casino-style gambling in the state.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks

Cuban said he envisions a new arena as part of a casino resort in downtown Dallas, a project that would require changes to the state constitution, subject to approval by the legislature and, subsequently, the voters. This transaction reignited the debate over the legalization of casinos in Texas.

In a conversation with CBS News Texas, Patrick highlighted the Senate’s resistance, predominantly Republican, to the proposal to legalize casinos. “My experience and my knowledge is that we aren’t even close to having 15 votes or 16 votes for casinos,” he stated.

Patrick highlighted that bills supporting casinos and sports betting were rejected during this year’s regular legislative session, noting the lack of significant voter demand for these measures. “When the session was over, there was not a cry from voters calling their senators or House members, gosh, we didn’t pass, I needed this bill,” he added.

The Texas Lt. Gov. advised casino operators to seek support from individual members of the House and Senate, emphasizing that major changes require persistent efforts. “Big things don’t happen overnight. You got to get in the trenches and grind it out,” he concluded.