DING DING DING
by Trey Ware
June 21, 2010
Have you been to Las Vegas? If so, you know the first sound you hear after getting off the plane, and the last sound you hear as you board to leave, is the DING DING DING of the machines. That familiar sound of casino gambling may be heard in Texas soon.
The Texas Legislature kicks off its next session in January of 2011, and the budget gap is expected to be between $12 billion and $18 billion. As a result, lawmakers may be ready to seriously consider expanded gaming in Texas. This could mean anything from aiding the racing industry, which has been hit hard by the recession, to allowing casinos to be built in Texas.
Retama Park CEO Bryan Brown says $3 billion is leaving Texas, and going to other states as Texans gamble elsewhere. State Senator Rodney Ellis says that's crazy, and the time has come to expand gambling in Texas.
Meanwhile, Governor Rick Perry's people say he is opposed. Perry is not the only opposition. There are groups from law enforcement to religious who have expressed concern over expanding gaming in Texas.
The fight has always been strong from both sides, but with the budget gap being what it is, it appears the pro-expansion crowd might have an advantage this time.
It will be fun to watch.