Texas Open House Seat Shows Divide Regarding Casino Issue

Texas commercial casino gambling

Candidates are hoping to land an available House seat in Texas, with the fight heating up as commercial gambling comes into the mix.

The state of Texas does not offer any type of commercial casino gaming, and many would like to see that change. Some lawmakers along with casino operators have been pushing to see the state legalize the option. Efforts thus far have failed. Just last week, politicians vying for an open House seat got on the topic during a San Antonio forum and the results show conflicting thoughts on the matter.

For or Against Commercial Casino Gaming

Last week, the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce sponsored a forum where four candidates spoke about their hope to obtain the House seat and what they bring to the table. Representative Lyle Larson is not running again, and his seat is open. Mark Dorazio, Adam Blanchard, Mark Cuthbert, and Elisa Chan are all running for the position.

These four individuals were on hand to speak during the forum, with the base of the event in San Antonio. The city is one of four communities in the state where advocates are pushing for commercial gambling expansion. Dallas, Austin, and Houston are also hopeful that casinos will eventually be approved.

For candidate Cuthbert, he would like to see the voters have the opportunity to decide on the issue via referendum. During the forum, he stated that the residents should be fee to enjoy what they like and choose how they spend their money. However, he also added that he is conflicted on the issue.

Blanchard is a stronger supporter of casino gaming, and a business owner. He pointed out in the forum of how tax dollars are moving out of the state due to players traveling to other areas to gamble where it is legalized. Blanchard feels that if this is a new means of revenues that would help with the current state property tax issue, then why is it not being done.

Of course, others in the running are skeptical of commercial gaming. Dorazio feels that the true cost-to-advantage needs to be considered since people suffer from gambling addiction and it affects families in a negative manner. He is basically asking if the advantages are worth what the negative outcomes that could arise.

In Texas, commercial casino gambling will not be legalized until two-thirds of the House and Senate agree to legalize it. If they do, then the state would decide via ballot.

To Scared to Make a Move

Last year, a study was conducted by the University of Houston Hobby School which found that almost 60% of residents are in favor of allowing full casino gaming in the state. Others were in favor of expanding what is offered via Native American reservations as well as dog and horse race tracks.

Overall, the support is there. But why won’t lawmakers make a move? It seems fear is standing in the way. The state is considered conservative and one where gambling would be considered a sin by the Christian constitutes. It seems that even if some lawmakers agree with the advantages of casino gaming, they are too worried about their demographic to try and bring about legislation.

Most of the Texas Republicans want to leave the gambling industry as is. They feel that if they vote in favor of casino gaming then it would hurt them once the primaries roll back around. It will certainly be interesting to see if anyone within this new group is added to the House seat and perhaps shakes things up when it comes to casino gambling.

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