Texas Tries to Legalize Casinos … Again

by Lou on February 25, 2009

Two Texas state senators, Houston Democrat Rodney Ellis and Dallas Republican John Carona, want to establish Las Vegas-style casinos in Texas.

Texans go out of state to gamble, and according to Ellis and Carona, the state should get a piece of that action through casino tax revenue and jobs.
“Texans are already gaming. They’re going to continue to do so. I say let’s regulate it and let’s tax it and let’s use the money to pay for public schools and highways and other needy programs in the great state of Texas,” Ellis said.
Their proposal would establish up to 12 destination resort casinos and also permit slot machines at horse and dog tracks, and casino gambling on Indian reservations.
This is the second time around for Ellis and Carona. They introduced a similar bill last session, but it failed, and social conservatives are once again threatening to fight the proposal. Lining up with the social conservatives are out-of-state casino interests who don’t want to see competition in Texas, and a rift between casino and race track interests is said to be forming.
Hard to figure how this one will play out, but I’m not overly optimistic—even when additional tax revenues brought about by new casinos seems to be a terrific motivator in these tough economic times.

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