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Texas Lawmakers To Consider Expanded Gambling Once Again

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Lawmakers in the state of Texas have been coy in their dealings with the gambling expansion issue. While some lawmakers push for more gambling, others have remained opposed to the idea of Texas following in the footsteps of many other states.

Now, however, legislators have seen the harsh reality of the state being $18 billion short on next years budget. That has led several lawmakers to reiterate the point that gambling revenue could make a big dent in that figure.

"Gambling could help us on our budget," said House Budget Chief Jim Pitts. "I'm going to look at every revenue enhancer that we can get. If you go across the border Oklahoma and Louisiana, you're going to see Texas cars, and we need to grab that money."

Pitts was referring to the thousands of Texas residents that currently travel to casinos in Oklahoma and Louisiana to do their gambling. If Texas were to add casinos, these residents would be spending the money in their home state, and it would help push the local economy.

Republican leaders have been cold to the idea of bringing slot machines or full-scale casinos to Texas. The religious base in the state believes that alternative methods must be found to increase revenue, methods that will not have the state rely on gambling to bridge budget gaps.

Slot machines for Texas racetracks have been proposed in the past, but the plan has not made it far. Amendments are needed to pass such expansion, and with a divide in the state capital, that common ground is likely to not be found. Voters would also have the final say as to whether the amendments were passed.

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