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Texas Governor Issues Statement Against Expanded Gambling

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The buzz earlier this week coming out of Texas was that lawmakers were prepared to once again take up gambling expansion. On Wednesday, however, Governor Rick Perry sent a warning to legislators that they should not bring expanded gambling to him for a signature.

With budget estimates coming in almost $20 billion short for next year, lawmakers discussed the option of possibly adding casino resorts and slots at state racetracks. The expanded gambling would bring millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state.

The gambling issue may be one that shapes the upcoming governor's race this fall. Perry will be hoping to keep his job and will have competition from Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill White. White will almost certainly make gambling a top issue in his bid to gain election.

In other states, the gambling issue has been at the forefront of political battles. Alabama is one of those states, and gambling has divided lawmakers and residents of the state in recent months. In Texas, the Republican Party has opposed expanded gambling, while many Democratic leaders have pushed for more gambling options.

Governor Perry was urged to clarify whether he did not want slot expansion at racetracks, or whether he was against only new gambling locations. The governor declined to elaborate on his views, only saying, "Drilling down the weeds of definitions is not a particularly practical conversation to have."

Texas lawmakers have discussed gambling options in the past, but the largely Republican legislature has closed the door on any expansion. Now, however, facing a projected $18 million deficit next year, lawmakers are re-considering their stances.

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