Republicans In Texas May Be Forced To Accept New Gambling Laws
If the state of California is known for their largely liberal views, then Texas is on the other end of the spectrum. Texas has long been one of the most conservative states in the US, but that may soon have to change if lawmakers want to cut into a growing budget deficit.
Over the past couple of years, the gambling issue has become one of interest in the Lone Star state. Democratic leaders have pushed bills that would legalize casino resorts in Texas, but each time Republican leaders have blocked the legislation from passing. In 2011, however, the issue may be one that cannot be ignored.
"Too many states have had success in cutting their budget deficits through expanded gambling," said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "For Texas lawmakers to continue to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to gambling expansion would be foolish. Even in other states that have always opposed gambling such as Ohio, residents started to see the benefits of the casinos."
In Texas, those benefits would include billions of dollars in tax revenue. Opponents are still hanging their argument on the social dangers of casino gambling, but as lawmakers have become educated on the issue around the country, the social issue fears have faded.
Democrats will be simply seeking to bring the issue to voters in 2011. One bill being drafted would ask voters to approve an amendment to the state Constitution that would allow casino resorts. Church groups, which have a large presence in Texas politics, are expected to lobby heavily to stop any gambling expansion legislation.
State racetracks have their proposals ready to go as well in the new year. The tracks would like to have video lottery terminals and poker rooms. The poker legislation has come close to passing in recent years, and some believe that if any expanded gambling will be approved in 2011, it will be poker legalization.
Pennsylvania lawmakers went through a similar debate to the one taking place in Pennsylvania in recent years. Earlier this year, Governor Ed Rendell threatened to cut government jobs if the legislators in Pennsylvania did not pass a bill that legalized table games. Within days of the threat, the bill was passed.
December 26, 2010
Posted By Terry Goodwin
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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