LAST CHANCE to STOP Texas Gambling Expansion Bills!

The Texas Legislative session is starting to wind down. But that just means we have to be on guard so that we do not get tired and let bad legislation slip out through the cracks! The following is an email that I received from Donna Garner about the two bills bills trying to be pushed out of committee that would open the door for expanded gambling in Texas. We can take action now to stop these bills! Please read the following email below from Donna Garner and also read my my previous post about Gambling in Texas.

“Stop Gambling Expansion in Texas”

by Donna Garner

5.8.11

ACTION STEP: Please contact your Texas Legislators and tell them that we do not want any expansion of gambling in our state. Ask them to vote against both Rep. Hamilton’s HJR 147 and Rep. Hilderbran’s HB 254. Hilderbran’s bill is making rapid progress and is on the General State Calender for this Tuesday, on 5.10.11.

Hilderbran’s bill makes Texas horse racing derbies possible; and, of course, the next small step would be a piece of legislation to open the way for racetrack casinos (“racinos”) at those horse racing derbies.

We do not want any expansion whatsoever of gambling in Texas because the net loss to communities outweighed the benefits 3 to 1!

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Rep. Mike Hamilton (R - Mauriceville) is the chair of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee and was appointed by Speaker Straus.

Speaker Straus (R - San Antonio) and his family have made their fortune from gambling interests.

Legislation that involves the expansion of gambling will normally come before the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee (L&A).

Rather than get someone else to float the gambling bill, Rep. Hamilton (the Straus-appointed chair) filed HJR 147 himself. This bill, if passed, would open the door to the expansion of gambling in Texas including video slot machines, casinos, gambling, and race tracks.

Hamilton wants a full racetrack casino (“racino”) at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie and also five luxury casinos (one per county) in Tarrant, Harris, Dallas, Bexar, and Travis Counties. (4.28.11 -- Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

In Oct. 2009, Global Gaming, a Chickasaw subsidiary, made a deal to buy Lone Star Park racetrack in Grand Prairie. Global Gaming also wants to build a race track in Amarillo.

In January 2010, Global Gaming bought bankrupt Remington Park which is located in Oklahoma City. Remington Park is a track-plus-casino (a.k.a., a “racino”). The Chickasaws were able to turn Remington Park around by the expansion of video slots that are not only profitable in themselves but also allow the track to increase prize money payouts.

The Chickasaws want Texas to change its video slot laws and to expand gambling at horse tracks, and the Chickasaws have hired high-paid lobbyists to influence our Texas Legislature. (5.7.11 -- Dallas Morning News)

It is clear that both the Chickasaws and Speaker Joe Straus would find it beneficial for Texas legislators to vote for the expansion of gambling in Texas.

STRAUS’ GAMBLING INTERESTS

One of our biggest concerns over Straus as Speaker was his long-standing business interests in gambling. He and/or his family own Retama Park in Selma (near San Antonio), Laredo Downs, Valle de los Tesoros Park in McAllen, and Austin Jockey Club.

Texas Observer Andrew Wheat wrote on 4.8.10, “Texas House Speaker Joe Straus III’s family could earn tens of millions of dollars if lawmakers and voters agree to let racetracks install slot machines (VLT’s).”

Retama has been losing money for several seasons, and it is not hard to imagine that Straus desperately wants to keep his family out of bankruptcy. It is also common knowledge that land has already been bought in Austin along FM 1625 at Texas Highway 45 and Old Lockhart Road to set up a racetrack called Longhorn Downs; Retama Entertainment Group (Straus’ family) is to manage it.

SNIPPETS OF ALARMING STATISTICS

Professor Earl L. Grinols, who is one of the leading economic experts on gambling in the United States, concluded that in the Midwest and South [including Texas], gambling caused a net loss to the community by removing gambling dollars from the local economy, and the local taxpayers had to pay for the “increased crime, personal bankruptcy, domestic violence, lost workdays, child abuse and other social costs from problem gamblers.”

According to the New York Times (7.29.10), the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that the social costs of gambling outweighed the benefits by 3 to 1.

Electronic gambling (e.g., slot machines) is one of the most dangerous forms of gambling because it preys on pathological gamblers.

Video Slot Machines are known as the 'crack cocaine' of gambling because of their addictive nature…The addiction cycle is shorter - about 1 year to become addicted.

Failing race tracks would become major slot machine casinos, also called ‘Racinos,’ overnight.

Seven states have quantified their costs of gambling addiction, bankruptcy and crime averaging $13,000 per person.

PLEASE READ MY TWO ARTICLES ON GAMBLING

To read more details about the devastating impact of the expansion of gambling upon Texas, please go to “Texas To Turn into Another Nevada?” -- 3.28.11:

http://news.navigator-news.com/component/content/article/6-politics/261-texas-to-turn-into-another-nevada

On 3.9.11, I wrote a second companion piece entitled “The Sicilian Mafia’s Texas Connections.” If you wish to read this article, please contact me at wgarner1@hot.rr.com so that I can e-mail it to you. The article is a bit too lengthy to post here.

ACTION STEPS

To learn more about Rep. Hamilton’s bill (HJR 147) and the names of the joint authors including Rep. Woolley, please go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Actions.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HJR147

HB 254 authored by Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R - Kerrville) can be found at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Actions.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB254

Hilderbran’s bill makes Texas horse racing derbies possible; and, of course, the next small step would be a piece of legislation to open the way for “racinos” to operate in Texas. Hilderbran’s bill is making rapid progress and is on the General State Calender for this Tuesday, on 5.10.11.

Comments

Make sure to check out the comments on Facebook.

Let the people decide!

We want the right to vote on such an important issue.  The party is really out of touch on this issue.

Get out of the way and let us vote.  Vote no if you want to but don't take away my rights!!!!

Or Democrats? Frankly, I don't have a problem with gambling and I don't particularly like being told what I should and should not be FREE to do with my money.

I'm tired of seeing Texas money funding schools and roads in Louisiana and Oklahoma. It's our money, we need it here!

Let the voters decide!

It is amazing that so many outright lies can be told about the Straus family and it is done with out thought to honesty and integirty. Those who spread these viscous lies are doomed to fail. These are the same people who attacked the speaker because he is a Jew. Go repent for bearing false witness and leave us alone. The same people who want the governemnt to control our lives regarding gambling are the same ones who sit back and crow about reducing the size and scope of government. I guess lying becomes habitual once a person starts down that road.   

I am religious and have my own interpretation of how God wants me to live my life. I don't need politicians and religious organizations telling me how I should. Guess some would say that I like to practice something called 'freedom'. I do not understand how the politicians can say no to allowing VLT's at racetracks in Texas, when I can go to a neighboring State and wager. Enough already, the ego's in Austin need to let individuals live their lives the way the individual see's fit!!! Why are you afraid of letting us vote on it? It's a huge ego that thinks they can save us from ourselves.

The article could have easily been written by a leftist advocating legislation that exercises control over an individual's mind, body and/or resources.  Exaggerations, hyperbole and emotional arguments, rather than those that embrace logic and reason.  Typical democratic b.s.  Surprised that I read it on this blog.

Either you believe in limited government or you don't.  The freedom loving people of the State of Texas should be able to decide this issue.

I have always been a proud GOP straight ticket voter, and am appalled at the push back on this particular subject that will simply allow the public to exercise their right as citizens of this great state. I have sat back for years watching this subject come up time and time again, while Oklahoma has built an empire across the border on our dollars. They started in a tent 5 years ago and now are the 3rd largest casino in the world. Not just one but two across the borders of both of our major highways. All off of our Texas money. Who do you think you are controlling? They are still traveling elsewhere to gamble. And, with our great educators losing their jobs by the day, I am sick of it! I will vote against representatives that support this kind of control and for the first time will sadly support a democrat in the next election.
 

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