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Texas Lawmakers Get It Backwards When It Comes To Gambling Bill

Lawmakers in the state of Texas have always been slower than legislators in other states when it comes to accepting gambling expansion. The Lone Star state is one of the few in the nation that does not have casino resorts.

That would have changed if a proposed constitutional amendment was approved. On Friday, lawmakers shocked residents of Texas and those inside the gaming industry when the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee stripped casino resorts out of the proposal.

Representative Mike Hamilton is the author of the legislation, but he understands he did not have the votes needed in the House to pass the measure. Hamilton is hoping that by taking the casino resorts out of the amendment, he will be able to gain support for what is left of the gambling measure.

In addition to the casino resorts, the original amendment called for allowing slots at state race tracks. The tracks will now get the opportunity to hold a monopoly on the gaming industry should Hamilton gather the necessary votes for passage.

"...Granting a monopoly for track owners on commercial gaming revenues in our state is just plain wrong and bad public policy," said Jack Pratt, representing the Texas Gaming Association. "We have long believed that the only way to pass legislation to expand gaming in Texas is a balanced approach that includes destination resort casinos, slots at race tracks, and gaming at the State's Indian reservations."

Dozens of states around the US have expanded their gambling options in the wake of the economic recession of 2008. Texas has been one of the states where lawmakers have been unable to come up with a plan acceptable to the majority. Even with the casino resorts gutted from the Hamilton amendment, it is unlikely that the measure will pass with time running short in this legislative session.

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