Sen. Juan Hinojosa, a Democrat from McAllen, authored the bill that would allow video lottery terminals in race tracks and Indian reservations.
As the state faces a $15 billion to $27 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers are looking for ways to bring in much-needed revenue.
Texans spend millions on gambling in other states. Hinojosa said allowing the machines in Texas would pump millions of dollars into a struggling economy, drive job creation and boost tourism.
He said the legislation would create more than 77,000 new jobs in 40 different industry sectors.
Many conservative groups oppose expanding gambling in Texas. Similar measures have consistently failed in previous legislative sessions.