KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.


Push for casino gambling in Texas revived once again

The push for gambling in Texas has gone on for a few decades now. Every year it seems we get close to the finish line, and every year it gets yanked away like Lucy moving the football away from Charlie Brown. It last failed in 2023 in a push by Las Vegas Sands and has never really made it past the halfway mark of actual consideration.

But alas, we are in a new year, and that means a renewed push from Las Vegas Sands once again to legalize casino gambling here in Texas. They are re-upping the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, which is a special interest group they used in their failed 2023 attempt. They are circulating a petition to legalize casino-style gambling.

Political consultant Bill Miller says the Sands group has some deep ties in Texas, and most important of all, plenty of money.

"They have a lot of lobbyists and spend a lot of money...they stay in the game, and do not take a rest. They are always there pushing, pushing, and pushing," he says. "They are deep pocketed and smart...they are doing what you have to do...trying to convince legislators that is a win-win for everyone."

Sands bases their push on the argument that it would boost education funding. Which, indeed, it might. The state of Colorado when they legalized marijuana brought in close to a billion dollars they were able to use on education.

Gambling has become much more popular though, especially live sports betting. But among many of your core, base Republicans, it remains an issue they could live without, which is why it might not get too far once again.

"People in Austin...the Conservative Republicans...they know what the base wants and likes...they stay away from topics like that...there is no reason to voice for it when the base it not for it...it could cause problems for them," he says.

Of course, Texas is losing money by not legalizing gambling already. Anyone who has the itch can head to Okalhaoma or Louisiana to spend their hard-earned dollar.

But even if we got it through here in Texas, and the idea was to spend it on education, it still might end up in questionable hands.

"It will just end up in the state's general fund...will they spend it on education? Maybe not. It might go to roads,'" he says. "The promise is empty."

In Texas, it is a pretty simple formula for the staunch Republicans. You love your family, God, football, and hunting. Anything else usually comes second, third, of fourth fiddle. We tend to stay away from trendy topics and ideas.

For example, marijuana legalization has taken off in many states now. But here in Texas, it remains a no-go basically for hardline Republicans. Same will go with casino gambling.

"Out of the two...I think they are about the same...neither will ever get passed in the State of Texas," he says.

Miller does not though that every wall ends up crumbling, and it may be passed down the road. But that is likely over a decade out in the future.

Blackjack Dealer Hands In a Casino

Photo: dcdebs / E+ / Getty Images

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