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Casino Gambling Proponents Bet on 2013 Session

Rob Boudon/Flickr

People who want Texas to open its doors to legalized casino gambling are pinning their hopes on the 2013 state legislative session. Several bills have been filed that would allow a statewide vote on the issue.

One proposed constitutional amendment by State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) would allow slot machines at racetracks, and casino resorts in urban areas, on tribal land and at locations along the Gulf Coast. Another proposal by State Representative Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) requires the governor to call a special legislative session to consider gaming legislation. 

John Montford is a lobbyist working the issue and he says casinos could create 75,000 jobs and create billions 0f dollars in statewide economic growth.

“Texans are smart enough to decide if they want expanded gaming within their borders or not, and we’re just asking for a straightforward referendum from the legislature on that issue," Montford said. 

Gambling opponents say casinos won't generate anywhere near the revenues that its supporters claim they will. And they fear the long-term social costs of gambling addiction and could outweigh any economic benefits. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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