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Posts Tagged ‘gambling’

Game room enforcement back on in Harris County

Better choose your eight liner provider carefully. After clearing a few legal hurdles, Harris County’s new game room regulations – on which the city of Houston is piggybacking – are set to take effect Friday. Late Tuesday after a hearing, a federal judge denied a request from a game room owner and operator for a […]

Game room injunction lifted

The temporary reprieve that Harris County ganerooms got from the courts has been lifted. Houston and Harris County moved one step closer Friday in their quest to crack down on illegal game rooms after a judge threw out a restraining order which had blocked new regulations due to come into effect this month. Game room […]

County enforcement of game room regulations halted for now

Oops. A quest by the county and city to crack down on illegal game rooms has hit a legal roadblock after a civil court judge granted a temporary restraining order barring Harris County from enforcing strict, new regulations. The city had been poised to piggyback on the county’s rules under a new state law. Instead, […]

County to tighten regulations on game rooms

It’s sort of a crackdown, but within limits. And something that’s regulated is something that’s legal, so there’s that. The regulations, made possible by a state law passed earlier this year by the Legislature, requires an establishment housing six or more video poker machines known as “eight-liners” to obtain a permit and pay a $1,000 […]

A cautionary tale about expanded gambling

Wonkblog: Earlier this week, Delaware’s casinos got a surprise windfall. Just days after saying no to tax breaks, Gov. Jack Markell (D) proposed that $8 million of the state’s budget surplus be distributed amongst its three struggling establishments, to forestall the layoffs that at least one of them had threatened. That would seem to defeat […]

Where things stand with two weeks to go in the legislative session

With the Thursday midnight deadline for bills to pass on second reading in the House, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the status of some major legislation and legislative priorities. There are two weeks left in the regular session, and the specter of overtime is hazy but present. […]

That’ll just about do it for gambling this session

Sen. Carona calls the chances “slim”, but it sounds like slim just left town to me. [Sen. John] Carona, chairman of the Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee, said last week he expected to vote his sweeping gambling bill out of his committee Tuesday. But the morning committee hearing came and went, and Carona declined to […]

More on the potential Coushatta casino

The Houston Press cover story from last week is about the Alabama-Coushatta tribe’s efforts to get a casino again. It covers a lot of the same ground as that Chron story I blogged about on Sunday, but it also reminds us of a very sordid aspect of the original casino and why it was closed. […]

Senate to consider expanded gambling

I didn’t really take it seriously when I heard that Sen. John Carona had filed his own gambling expansion legislation, but it seems it’s got some traction. A proposal from Dallas Republican Sen. John Carona would establish a commission that licenses 21 casinos throughout the state, including three mega-resorts in Bexar, Dallas and Tarrant counties […]

Harris County wants to be like the city in regulating eight-liners

One of the main differences between Houston and Harris County is that the city can generally do what it wants to do while the county had to get a law passed to do the same thing. When the city of Houston began enforcing stricter regulations on topless clubs and massage parlors, officials saw complaints against […]

Gambling interests narrow their focus

This is usually how it goes. Let Texans Decide, a pro-gambling organization that is fronted by former state Sen. John Montford, was aligned at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session with big casino interests in a call for full-scale casino gambling in Texas, whether at horse and dog tracks or at yet-to-be-built destination resort […]

It may not matter where the casinos are

I don’t know if the gambling industry will finally gain traction in their effort to legally expand operations in Texas, but I do wonder if they’re fighting the last war and missing out on what’s happening now elsewhere in the country. Silicon Valley is betting that online gambling is its next billion-dollar business, with developers […]

Gambling has always polled well

In addition to their self-reported efforts to work together, the pro-gambling expansion forces have released a poll showing public sentiment on their side. A poll paid for by Let Texans Decide, a pro-gambling group made up of interests that wanted slot machines at racetracks last session, asked 1,001 registered voters in Texas: “Regardless of your […]

One big happy pro-gambling expansion family

If the pro-gambling forces in the state all join hands and agree to work together, will this finally be the year that gambling expansion gets a vote? Maybe. John Montford, chairman of Let Texans Decide, a coalition of gaming companies, track operators, trade groups and others who want Texas to legalize casinos, has met with […]

A look ahead to the 2013 Lege

The Trib previews the biennial hijinks of the 2013 Texas Legislature. The last time Texas lawmakers convened in Austin, they were absorbed with numbers and boundaries: how to make ends meet with a deflated state budget and draw new district maps the courts would approve. But with improving fiscal conditions and redistricting mostly in the […]

Time once again to talk about expanded gambling

There’s a legislative session coming up, right? That can only mean one thing: A new effort to expand gambling in Texas. Track and gaming interests say voters should be allowed to decide whether to give Texas a shot at the benefits of $2.5 billion they say is wagered in surrounding states annually by Texans. “They […]

More on the economic effect of casinos

I’m just noting this for the record, since I am sure that gambling expansion will come up again in The Lege this spring. Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland, released a literature review in 2005 summarizing work on gambling done to date. A study by Maryland’s William Evans and Julie Topoleski that […]

The state would like for the counties to enforce the law against eight-liners

Apparently, some legislators who don’t much like gambling had a few things to say about that article about eight-liners. “Eight-liners that provide cash prizes are against the law, and the law needs to be enforced,” [State Sen. Dan] Patrick said in a statement. “Without oversight, illegal game rooms become hot spots for crime.” Patrick noted […]

Counties are skirting the state on gambling, too

When eight-liners are outlawed, cities and counties will tend to look the other way rather than try to deal with enforcing the laws against them. Some of the money has arrived at the Duval County building in five-figure money orders or checks. But much of it has been in cash. This past April, county Treasurer […]

Ending the Lottery?

Seems unlikely, but that won’t stop some folks from trying. As lawmakers look at whether the Texas Lottery Commission is operating effectively, influential Baptists are suggesting that the lottery shouldn’t merely be tweaked. They want it abolished. “Ask the pertinent questions. Has the lottery fulfilled its promise? My answer would be ‘no,’” said Suzii Paynter, […]

Anti-tax zealots plump for casinos

Gambling yes! Grover Norquist, the nation’s most prominent anti-tax crusader, wrote a letter last week to Texas legislators to call for expanded gambling. “In light of the adverse economic impact that higher taxes would have, it is imperative that lawmakers consider all other options for balancing the state’s budget,” Norquist wrote. “There are a number […]

Casinos expanding nationally

I have no idea what the political or budgetary climate will be like for the gambling industry here in Texas when the Lege next convenes in 2013, but they have been gaining a lot of ground elsewhere in the country. States have embraced casinos, after years of trepidation about their societal costs, for two simple […]

A step forward for online gambling

Interesting. The Justice Department has reversed its long-held opposition to many forms of Internet gambling, removing a big legal obstacle for states that want to sanction online gambling to help fix their budget deficits. The legal opinion, issued by the department’s office of legal counsel in September but made public on Friday, came in response […]

We do have casino gambling in Texas

With all the talk about slot machines at horse racing tracks and legalized casinos, it’s easy to forget that there already is one legal casino in Texas. As the busloads of seniors and other low rollers pulled in from San Antonio for a day of gaming at the Lucky Eagle Casino, demolition crews were busy […]

States looking at online gambling

Until the economy returns to the point where states aren’t completely strapped for revenue, I expect them to look at all possible sources of new money. It’s an idea gaining currency around the country: virtual gambling as part of the antidote to local budget woes. The District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, […]

The racetracks have given up on gambling for this session

Here’s a clear answer for those of you who may have been holding out some hope for an expansion of gambling. Retama Park officials have all but lost hope that lawmakers will act before the end of the regular legislative session to let voters decide whether to legalize slot machines at state racetracks. While a […]

Is there still a chance gambling legislation can pass the Senate?

All signs still point to “no” if you ask me, but gambling legislation never goes quietly so it might look otherwise on the surface. The quiet formation of a special Texas Senate subcommittee to consider a controversial casino gambling resolution has sparked a behind-the-scenes fight that could affect passage of the state budget and school […]

Nothing is dead, and nothing is certain

The deadline for passing House bills on second reading was midnight Friday last week, which means that tons of bills are technically dead, as they can no longer be brought to the House floor for a vote. However, bills can still be attached to other bills that are eligible for consideration as amendments, so nothing […]

Some gambling advances in the House

It’s probably too little too late, but you never know. A Texas House committee surprised the casino lobby Friday night when it voted out legislation that would allow video lottery terminals — slot machines — at state racetracks and Indian reservations. The casinos were left behind. Casino interests wanted any legislation approved by the House […]

House says it may be close to approving expanded gambling

This would be as far as they’ve gotten in recent sessions. Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton, R-Mauriceville, who chairs the Licensing and Administrative Procedures committee, said he is close to having enough votes to pass his ever-morphing gambling bill. As Hamilton seeks to gather a comfortable number of “aye” votes, he and his committee members have […]

House approves a little more money, Senate readies its budget

Just a little. Texas House budget-writers voted Monday to free up an additional $3 billion for key state services through such moves as speeding up tax collections, delaying payments and suspending the back-to-school sales tax holiday. The bills next go to the full House, which Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, predicted could be willing […]

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 […]

Legislation to allow slot machines filed

Fresh from the inbox: BI-PARTISAN LEGISLATION FILED TO ALLOW STATEWIDE VOTE ON SLOTS AT TEXAS TRACKS, INDIAN RESERVATIONS AUSTIN, Texas — Texas State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Texas State Representative Beverly Woolley (R-Houston) filed legislation today to allow Texas voters to decide whether to allow slot machines at existing horse and greyhound tracks […]

Another story analyzing gambling’s odds in the Lege

I have three things to say about this story. [W]ith a budget crisis looming — and funding to public education, health care and other state services on the chopping block — gambling opponents aren’t taking any chances. Both sides have said legalizing gambling could generate at least $1 billion in state revenue, which lawmakers could […]