Tex. gambling supporters unite to renew legislative battle

Dec 31, 2012 10:08 AM

For more than a decade, supporters of expanded gambling in Texas have fought fruitlessly to generate legislative interest. The cry of “wait till next year” has been heard much too often, say proponents, who feel that a united effort this year will pay off.

In the past, several groups went their own way in attempting to influence lawmakers but that will end this year, say activists.

Bill Miller, a political consultant and lobbyist, recently told the Austin, Texas, American-Statesman newspaper that lack of unity won’t be a problem this coming year. The different groups won’t be working against each other, he insists.

“(That) dramatically increases their chances,” he stated.

Among the various lobbyists looking to influence the legislature is John Pitts, who represents Wynn Resorts Ltd. 

“The gaming industry appears to be more united than in past sessions,” he was quoted as saying. 

So far, Texas allows only wagering on horse and dog racing and operates a state lottery but sponsors of casino gambling say their effort is growing.

Joining the lobbyists is former state senator John Montford who heads a group called “Let Texas Decide.” His position has been, “We’re hemorrhaging money to other states. Why not regulate it, sanction it and put some money in the treasury?”

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