Will revenue hunt greenlight casino gambling in Texas?

At Chancellors Family Center, a tennis club on Houston's southwest side, there are plenty of games and competition, but hardly the "grownup" kind you'll find in Las Vegas or Lake Charles.

"I would love gambling to come to Texas. Legal gambling to come to Texas. I hate having to go to Louisiana to gamble and why not keep all the money here? " said Lisa Fleishman, a supporter of expanded gaming.

While some in Texas remain reluctant to green light casinos, most say it's high time to keep Texas dollars in Texas.

In fact, a recent statewide survey by the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs found a whopping 70 percent of Texans favored legalizing casinos as a means of raising state revenue.

"Go for it. Good for the economy and anyone who doesn't like gambling can stay home," said Paul Haong who supports legalizing casinos.

Others see it much differently.

"Sometimes it makes people not want to find a job, a regular job and just want to gamble most of the time," said Daniel Ramirez who thinks casinos in Texas is a bad idea.

Turns out, that minority view opposing casinos has key support in powerful places - as in Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Rice political analyst Mark Jones expects neither to budge despite the State's pandemic driven deficit.


"Both because of policy and principle, but also because the Republican base, people who vote in the primaries isn't all that wild about casino gambling. and casino gambling is the kind of issue that people may not vote for you for supporting it, but there a lot of them who may vote against you for backing it," said Jones.

Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado is hoping to offer both Republicans political cover by pushing legislation authorizing a statewide casino referendum - an up or down vote by the people of Texas.

"They really wouldn't be signing off for gaming. They would just be signing off to allow Texans to decide whether or not they want it. So, they could say we are following the people's will," said Alvarado.

Senator Alvarado tells FOX 26 she will be filing her casino bill in a matter of days.