Calling gambling expansion a “trifecta” for future success,” Texas, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White has released a $9 billion plan that includes expanded gambling as a partial pathway to fund scholarships, improve Texas public schools and cut property taxes.
Most forms of gambling remain prohibited in the state and the concept remains a hot button issue in Texas. Andrews faces Lupe Valdez in a May 22 runoff election for the Democratic nomination.
White wants to raise more money for schools, teacher pay and provide a $2.5 billion in property tax cuts for local homeowners.
In an announcement earlier this week, White called for expanded gambling at racetracks. He also wants to allow a small number of casinos at "destination resorts" around the state that would include slot machines and gaming tables.
According to White, expanded gambling alone would generate an additional $3 billion in taxes by allowing existing horse and dog tracks to open casinos. Indian tribes would be allowed do the same under his plan.
If the Legislature refuses to expand gaming, White said Texans should be allowed to vote on it. Approval of each location would be determined by "local option" votes, he said.
Political observers say legalized sports betting could be part of any gambling expansion in the state, but that the entire prospect of increased wagering opportunities for Texans remains a long shot, at best.