In spite of some public opposition and a well-attended anti-gambling rally on the steps of the capitol last week, many gambling bills have been filed this session.
"The issue is not whether Texans favor gambling. According to the most recent Texas Poll, voters favor casino gaming by almost a 2:1 margin (60% Favor vs 37% opposed) when tied to funding extra money for state government and education. Nor is the issue whether Texans participate in casino gambling, as a February 2003 Texas Poll referenced that 33 percent of Texans say they visited an out-of-state casino during the past year. (Austin Business Journal cited 3 million Texas adults who took out-of-state casino trips in 2002). The issue is whether Texas is suffering economically from not competing with other states that have casino. And the answer is a multi-billion dollar YES! Currently, millions of Texans are already spending billions of dollars at gaming destinations in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and in other states, leaving Texas with zero benefits."
One thing is certain: the issue won’t be going away any time soon. Stay tuned to the blog as gambling legislation moves through both chambers.