TexasGamblingTexas lawmakers – who for years have rejected measures aimed at legalizing slot machines and allowing full-scale casinos to be built in the state for which poker’s most famous game is named – may finally have to budge, after a study by the Texas Association of Business (TAB) showed that expanding legalized Texas gaming in the Lone Star State could bring in an additional $11.8 billion in revenues annually.

It’s all rather ironic in the state that probably hosts more high roller home games than you can shake a stick at. Or, maybe that’s the problem; they don’t want the competition. We hear a lot of those games are pretty lucrative for the “hosts”.

Casinos Would be Allowed

If the new bill makes it through a Texas Senate committee hearing, it would allow for slot machines to be installed in 13 state racetracks, as well as the creation of six full-scale casinos: three with Indian tribes, and three more in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.  But even with the big-ticket study, it’s not a done deal; many past gaming measures have been shot down.

But the TAB won’t go down without a fight.

“For too long, Texas has propped up neighboring economies at the expense of our own; exporting jobs, revenue and investment as one of only 10 states that prohibits casino-style gaming,” said Bill Hammond, TAB’s president.  Hammond says his group’s study shows that building the six casinos could create 74,000 jobs, add $3.4 billion in income, and generate that $11.8 billion in annual economic activity.

Where’s Trump’s Mortgage?

Meanwhile, back in Atlantic City, the California company that was planning to buy Trump Plaza for 1/10th what Trump originally built it for 30 years ago, now says it is delaying the deal while Trump Entertainment scrambles to get a release of its mortgage that’s being held by its senior secured lender.

Meruelo Group has been in negotiations to purchase Trump Plaza since February, and offered $20 million, which is bargain basement casino pricing by any standards, with the promise to spend about another $100 million on much-needed upgrades to the now-dated casino-hotel.  The deal was the latest to indicate how badly Atlantic City is doing in the gaming department; Resorts Atlantic City and the Trump Marina have also gone for next to nothing in recent years.

Deal’s Still On

Meruelo Group, which owns the Grand Sierra in Reno, Nevada, isn’t throwing in the towel yet on the deal, however. The company said in a recent statement that it’s “heartened” to see that Trump Entertainment is offering an option to them to purchase the Plaza later in the year if Trump can get things squared up with their current lender.  Meruelo says it remains “fully committed” to the deal, and (for reasons only they understand), looks forward to becoming part of the (endlessly failing) Atlantic City casino community.