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Horse racing folks feeling good about gambling’s chances this time

They always say that, but maybe this time they’re right.

The chief executive officer at Retama Park expressed cautious optimism Thursday that the state could one day allow slot machines at horse racetracks, a move that has long been deemed as critical to the financial well-being of a struggling industry in Texas.

Retama CEO Bryan Brown made his comments in the wake of legislation introduced in Austin earlier in the day.

[…]

Brown said he has never felt better about the prospects that the track in Selma, in operation since 1995, could build an alternate facility on site that would house slot machines.

“This has been a work in progress,” Brown said. “And, you know, a lot of times (during this process) we’ve been excited. A lot of times we’ve been down about the prospects. But we’ve never felt this good about what might happen.”

As noted before, I’m rethinking my pessimism about gambling. The budget issues may just be enough to overcome legislators’ resistance to it. I still think it’s an underdog, I still think the horse racing interests and the casino interests will ultimately work at cross purposes as they always have – see the last paragraph of this story for an example of what I mean – and I retain the right to my skepticism until someone shows me at least one legislator who’s flipped on the issue, but I do see a possible way forward now, which I had not seen before.

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