Texas would have to expand gambling to see the multibillion-dollar profits Gov. Rick Perry promised last year when he proposed selling the state lottery, according to a report an Austin watchdog group plans to release today.
Texans for Public Justice, which monitors money in politics, obtained Texas Lottery sales projections by three private companies compiled for Perry from 2006 through 2007.
The Public Justice report indicates that to generate the $14 billion or more Perry said the lottery would yield, Texas would have to allow more gambling and more-addictive games.
“If Texans oppose such a gambling expansion, then these documents suggest what they should play with the Texas Lottery games is Texas Hold ‘Em,” the report concludes.
The report is here. I think the main point to be aware of is here:
Today, more than a dozen states are studying lottery privatization. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said last year that his state’s lottery could be auctioned off for as much as $37 billion. Yet the Associated Press reported this February that seven Wall Street banks privately priced the deal for Schwarzenegger, who publicly touted the most “wildly optimistic” quote. Significantly, to reach its highest valuations, Wall Street said that the state would have to “allow a significant expansion of gambling in California.”
Lottery privatization is not dead in Austin, either. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has directed two interim Senate committees to assess the merits of lottery privatization. Meanwhile, gambling interests continue to ply Governor Perry with lottery-privatization schemes.
As in California, many of the documents that the Texas governor’s office has released thus far to Watch Your Assets suggest that the payout that Governor Perry has touted is unrealistic unless Texas aggressively expands into new games and widens the venues in which gambling occurs. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has issued non-binding opinions indicating that many of the new kinds of games that the gambling industry is pushing require a constitutional amendment. Yet the Dallas company Aces Wired now openly operates electronic gaming machines in selected Texas markets that already cross some legal lines drawn by the Attorney General. Aces Wired, which spearheads a business consortium interested in running the Texas Lottery, has flooded the governor’s office with advice on how to go about making this happen.
The two Senate committees, according to a footnote, are Finance and State Affairs. May mean nothing, but it doesn’t sound like it. Just keep this in mind for when the next Lege convenes.