Posts Tagged ‘Rodney Ellis’

January 14, 2013

Heating up: Texas Fight for Right to Gamble at Home

Editorial reveals progression of conservative opinion in state

Gambling laws in three of Texas’ neighbor states:

LOUISIANA
Legal gaming: Commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.566 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $1.016 billion

NEW MEXICO
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $923.9 million

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $204.2 million

OKLAHOMA
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.478 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $478.4 million

Source: “The Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Racino Gaming in Texas,” a study for Texans for Economic Development

The Texas Legislature convened its 140-day biennial session last week … and right out the gate, gambling is an issue du jour.

Two relevant bills to follow: the poker bill (Rodriguez – HB 292), which looks to provide for legal and regulated live poker at Texas racetracks and elsewhere; and the casino amendment bill (Ellis – SJR 6), which seeks to establish a Texas Gaming Commission by popular vote of the people, allowing for different types of gaming in specified regions.

Though much remains to be seen about current efforts and their ability to finally bring results to disenfranchised Texas poker commuters and pokerati expats, The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial last week suggesting that the people, even in ever-conservative Texas, are ready to push gaming matters forward, even if it results in a casino:

It makes plenty of good points about money realities (see the sidebar to the right) … and challenges newly elected Tea Party reps to show they really believe in principles of fiscal conservatism more so than being in the pockets of social conservatives. But what caught my eye (and fueled my optimism?) was the “Related” box, where you can see a progression of influential opinion on the matter:

It’s a subtle change, but significant, imho. In 2010 it was about how the legislature *should study* … you know like they should, kinda-sorta look at it, and maybe think about it … by 2011, with Session rolling and different casino interests fighting for the business of building resorts, it was *Texans Deserve*. As in yeah they do, because we’re Texans by-darnit!

Now it’s a more active and agressive *Let’s [do this!]*

So … We should think about it (ok, done that), we deserve this (yes we do), so now there’s nothing else to do but act (and your inaction as a legislator is an assault on my intelligence and freedom).

OK, maybe I’m stretching things a bit. But The Dallas Morning News editorial page is hardly some liberal pink sheet. If anything, the Blue-Haired Lady of Texas journalism represents the collective voice of the conservative heart of the Texas GOP (in a region where George W. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Pokerati, Sr. alike currently reside). So this slight variation in word choice over the years reveals not just an evolving willingness to see casino entertainment in Texas, but perhaps more important attaches the notion to matters of fiscal responsibility and the conservative principals that got many of them elected.

Posted by at 4:00 pm

February 25, 2011

Texas Primed for Gambling Push

Casino resorts and poker bill on the legislative agenda

source: Texas Tribune

Hungry for Change? Texans apparently are ready for laws that keep gaming dollars in their cash-starved state.

Gaming legislation will again be on the agenda in Pokerati’s beloved home state of Texas — as it has been pretty much continuously since the days when “blue laws” prohibited us from shopping on Sundays. But this year Texas is friggin’ near-broke and public opposition to gambling is minimal, making hopes for passage of new gaming laws more promising.

A poll of registered voters taken earlier this month (conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune) indicates 56 percent support full-on casino resorts in Texas, and fewer than 20 percent oppose any expansion of gambling or want to ban it altogether. A year ago, these numbers stood at 40 and 31 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are wrangling with one of the biggest budget deficits in the country and the need for contentious cuts to education, Medicare, veterans affairs, prisons … and just about every other department in an effort to close a budget shortfall estimated at $11-to-27 billion — bigger than any the state has ever had to face.

But before poker players get too excited about Texas’s economic woes going into the 2011 legislative session… with elevated hopes for gaming-law success (and fully legalized poker) also comes heightened opposition from well-monied morality-driven lobbies, and possibly cut-throat intra-ideological competition over whose bill gets the biggest push. And that doesn’t even begin to address the uncertain but possibly critical stake of the Chickasaw …

More…

Posted by at 3:17 pm