Gaming in Texas………….Update March 13, 2011

Today’s Dallas Morning News gave an update on progress made to allow casino/slots in Texas. The issue is heating up due to budget shortfalls and massive cuts, especially in the education area.

The size of the push by gaming interests is evident by the amount that is being paid to lobbyists and by who they are representing. In past years the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma was lobbying to defeat any gaming in Texas because of the impact it would have on the Oklahoma casinos that are predominately frequented by Texans. Now the Tribe is attempting to buy a racetrack between Dallas and Fort Worth. While they would lose some patrons in the existing casinos, the potential for a much larger market makes it a sure fire winner for them. They are contributing between $600k to $800k to this cause and are the largest lobby group. The lobbyists are being paid between $2.7 million to $4.5 million for their efforts by several groups between the Chickasaw Nation, Texas Gaming Association, Sam Houston Race Park, land Texans for Economic Development. The amount they are spending this go around is twice the amount spent two years ago.

Now……..what does this all mean? Basically it means that there is a lot of money in lobbying which is a no brainer. Is there more money in lobbying every two years when the issue continues to come up in the Texas Legislature or is there more money to be made by actually getting it passed?

The process requires certain things to happen. First it must pass both houses, then it goes to the King of Texas to approve. In the last session two years ago, the votes were in place to pass the gaming bill with a simple majority but since the King promised a veto the sponsors of the bill did not bring it up for vote since it would send a negative message for future efforts. It had been hoped in this past effort that we would have a new Governor this time around but the King kept his crown.

The King has indicated a veto again so the gaming interests are aware that in order to bring up for vote, they must already have a two-thirds majority in place to override a veto and some are thinking it will be tough but may be doable.

The primary opposition to this passing is the gaming legislation are religious based groups and the bingo industry…..but the bingo operators want to insure that they can have slots if gaming is approved. There are 478 charitable bingo halls currently and if they cannot add slots, they would be crushed.

Now…..even if the legislature does get the super majority they need to approve, it still has to go to the voters in Texas to vote on the amendment that would be required to approve. I personally think it would pass but in Texas… never know.

The big question that is always on my mind as stated earlier is, if the lobbyists are making this massive amount of money to get this thing passed every two years when the legislature meets………is it in their interests to get it passed????? What will be in it for them down the road when this gravy train ends???? Am I a cynic??????

2 Responses to Gaming in Texas………….Update March 13, 2011

  1. Rachel says:

    The blog is cool

  2. John says:

    Let me start by siyang nice post. Im not sure if it has been talked about, but when using Chrome I can never get the entire site to load without refreshing many times. Could just be my computer. Thanks.

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