Texas Casino Gambling Legalization Continues to Divide Politicians
Posted on: January 26, 2022, 03:03h.
Last updated on: January 26, 2022, 03:42h.
A recent debate among Republican candidates vying for Texas’ 122nd House seat shows legalization of commercial gambling remains a controversial issue. The politicians offered conflicting stands during the San Antonio forum.
Four candidates — Adam Blanchard, Elisa Chan, Mark Cuthbert, and Mark Dorazio — participated in last week’s North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum. The incumbent Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) is not running for reelection.
San Antonio is one of four Texas communities where gambling expansion advocates, during the last legislative session, wanted to place a commercial gaming property. Other cities are: Dallas, Houston, and Austin.
Cuthbert, a financial services executive, wants the issue voted on by Texas residents in a referendum.
People should be “free to engage in their pleasure and how they spend their money,” San Antonio Report, a local news organization, quoted Cuthbert. But he added that he was “deeply, deeply conflicted” on the issue.
Stronger support for casinos came from Blanchard, who is a business owner. He noted how tax dollars are now going out of the state to neighboring regions with legalized gaming.
If we have the means of building up other revenue sources that can help us combat this property tax issue, why aren’t we doing it?” Blanchard was quoted by the Report.
Other business owners running for the seat appeared more skeptical. Dorazio asked, “What is the true cost-to-advantage we have to suffer for somebody who has a brother-in-law — like myself — who was addicted to [gambling] and lost his family?” A
Chan also said the issue should be looked into.
Commercial casino gambling cannot be made legal in Texas without the support of at least two-thirds of the members of the Texas House and two-thirds of the members of the Texas Senate. That would sent send it to a popular vote.
As of January 2021, a University of Houston Hobby School poll found that 58 percent of Texans favor allowing full casino gambling in Texas. Another 18 percent support a limited expansion of gambling on the state’s three Indian reservations and at existing horse and dog tracks.
In addition, Las Vegas Sands supports gambling expansion in Texas. The company lobbied for pro-gaming legislation.
When asked about the issue, Mark P. Jones, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, predicted on Tuesday to Casino.org that “gambling legalization will remain an issue in Texas politics until such time that casino gambling is legalized.”
“However, a full one-third of Texas Republicans want to leave the gambling laws as they stand (or reverse them), and even pragmatic Texas Republicans have some concern that, were they to vote in favor of casino gambling, that the vote could harm them in future Republican primaries,” Jones said.
Many Republicans oppose the expansion of casino gambling in Texas for principled reasons, Jones adds. They view gambling as a sin, or a contributor to social and economic problems, Jones explained.
In addition, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, “remain adamantly opposed” to casino gambling, Jones said. “If Patrick, in particular, does not support a bill, its prospects of even reaching the Texas Senate floor for a vote, let along garnering the requisite two-thirds majority, are about as close to zero as you can get without being less than zero.” Both Abbott and Patrick are likely to win reelection this November.
Thus, barring a budget crisis of epic proportions over the next four years, all signs today are that casino gambling legislation remains dead on arrival in Austin,” Jones said.
But Clyde Barrow, a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, told Casino.org that the Texas legislature will come back into regular session in January 2023. “At that time, I expect casino legalization to be back on the table,” he said.
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Last Comments ( 5 )
vote it in save the people money not driving to ok, la nm, co. ms &FLYING TO VEGAS
people could save a lot of money not driving to ms ok la nm &co plus flying to vegas so vote it in.
It comes down to two things. Make it easy for older citizens to gamble in Texas or make elderly citizen's drive to Louisiana. Does anyone really want elderly people driving on HWY10? I am 83 years old, look out for me, I keep my blinker on at all times and I drive 80 MPH in a 65 MPH zone in order to not get rear-ended by some whippersnapper driving 95 MPH. I will be on HWY10 next week heading to the Golden Nugget.
Follow the money....The only reason it hasn't happened is because if it passed, casinos in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico would shut down. Ever seen the parking lots in those places? 90% Texas. Most of that money is from North Texas. If It passed here, Colorado and Vegas would even feel it as well. So all of those with out of state interests, funnel a TON of money to lobbyists in Texas to keep it out of the voting hands of those who are currently making them so much money. No one WANTS to drive to Oklahoma or Shreveport to gamble, but if it is the only game nearby, they will. This trash about " My constituents don't want it" or 'we will have too many gambling addicts" is just nuts. Suddenly they care about peoples misfortune? What about our homeless and those begging on the streets? That problem just continues to grow in our state. How about you pass the darn law, and let's take that money and actually take care of those in need! It would take lawmakers who are willing to sacrifice self interest. Tough sell.
It is not a question of if Texas will allow the voters to vote on having casinos in Texas, it is a question of when. If Dan Patrick wants to get re-elected he had better get on the wagon of allowing us to vote on the issue. The dumbest argument against casinos is the subject of gambling addiction. They simply drive to Lousiana, Oklahoma or any other state that has gambling or they simply walk to the store and buy scratch-offs or lottery tickets. Are we going to close all of the liquor stores because of acholic additions ?