Last Modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 10:51 AM
Political parties and advocacy groups which are support or oppose expanded gambling in Texas were thrown a curve this spring when Democratic voters indicated they wanted the opportunity to vote for casino gambling in the state.
During state primaries, three referendums were decided, with one addressing casino gaming.
On the Democratic ballot, voters were asked “Should the Texas Legislature allow the people to Texas to vote to legalize casino gambling with all funds generated being used only for education?”
When polls closed, 359,545, or 74 percent of Democrats voted yes while 125,471, or 26 percent voted no.
For years, Texas politicians have haggled with the issue of casino gambling. Opposition -- spearhead by conservative and religion groups -- has derailed efforts to expand legalized gambling.
Currently, the state allows racetracks, dog tracks, lottery, and offshore gambling.
Proponents of expanded gambling champion the use of extra revenue for education.
That discussion has gained more traction after Lone Star State politicians ratified their $80.6 billion state budget for 2012-2013. Due to a $27 billion shortfall, cuts to all sorts of government programs were made. Legislators cut public education by $5 billion.
Next year, the Legislature -- which convenes every two years -- will address the deficit and according to a Democratic Party spokeswoman, gaming legislation may be discussed as a result of the referendum.
“This says that Texas voters are absolutely disgusted with the cuts to public education and are looking at every alternative to make schools better,” said Rebecca Acuna.
She stressed that the Democrats do not necessarily support more gaming in Texas.
Democratic support of gaming is consistent with polling that shows residents in the state are interested in expanded gambling.
One of the more respect polls was conducted in 2011 by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune. Fifty-six percent of respondents would ‘allow full casinos’ to operate in the state.
“Although controversial, it is less controversial, we you say all money is supposed to go towards public education,” Acuna said.
She explained that one form of expanded gambling that has a chance to become legal is the installation of slot machines at racetracks.
Sam Houston Race Track in Houston, Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie and Retama Park in San Antonio are already the horse racing tracks already open.
In April, Pinnacle Entertainment announced it obtained majority ownership os Retama for $22.8 million. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ family had majority interest in the property prior to the sell.
In the press release that announced the business deal, Pinnacle president and chief executive officer Anthony Sanfilippor stated “The Retama Transactions provide Pinnacle with the opportunity to expand our portfolio of properties. We believe Retama Park provides significant strategic value for our shareholders given the potential approval of gaming entertainment centers at Texas pari-mutuel facilities and by expanding the reach of Pinnacle’s operations in the region into two key Texas markets, San Antonio and Austin.”
Posted By: Carolyn Z. On: 10/21/2012
Yes to casinos in Texas. I speed thousends of dollars on going to NV and others states gambling. There are about 5 couples with me, all want casinos in DFW area.
Posted By: ovidio garcia On: 9/4/2012
Title: follow the money;
As a young man I learned that the old adage "if a something doesn't make sense, follow the financial interest" is very true. I can not understand Lubbock's Rep. Duncan's insistance in going against the great majority of Texans concerning expanded gambling in our state to alleviate our budget situation. I wonder if, LA,OK and NM gambling interests are involved.
Posted By: angel gomez On: 9/1/2012
live in san antinio so please bring on the casinos i am tired of driving to la and leaving my money there
Posted By: GW On: 8/29/2012
Title: Texas Lockbox Plan
I proposed a Lockbox Plan in August 2011 to ensure all the new revenue goes to education.
Posted By: money in my own pocket On: 8/21/2012
Y'all complaining...and still coming....here's a tip...its call gamblers anonymous....go there instead........non gamblers don't c the money anyway.....
come on,its a money making business...
so no matter where a casino is...Guess who NOT making the money or benefitn..Its a bunch of crock
Posted By: Irene On: 8/20/2012
Title: Boost the economy
Iowa and Kansas have shown state-owned casinos and casinos in general have boosted the economy, and if racing is to stay strong in Texas, it is the only logical answer
Posted By: Barbara On: 8/20/2012
Title: Casino in TX
LA was told the same thing. Funny how the revenue went straight to the General Fund. It is all a fraud about education.
Posted By: Rod Rishard On: 8/19/2012
come on casinos would kick texas economy in the ass..dont you reealize all the money in louisiana comes from texas..as an enterrtainer i play mostly louisiana,but i feel texas would be more like vegas with its management of casino gambling..you got my vote and probably every musician in Texas vote.bring it on..please do it quickly
Posted By: Doug On: 8/19/2012
Title: Education? Yeah, Right!!
I have seen no place anywhere where casino revenues have helped to improve educational conditions in the area as promised. All of it is a crock.
Posted By: violeine kennemur On: 8/19/2012
Title: casinos in texas
i would love to have casinos in texas im tired of wasting gas and my money some where else.it would be nice to relax at a place i enjoy the most.