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Betting on the Texas Coast

Betting on the Texas Coast

A proposed constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling on the coast has advanced in the Texas House of Representatives. If passed, you can bet the region's real estate demand would increase.

Lawmakers at the State Capitol are looking at ways to allow gambling, which could give net the state $2 to 4 billion.

Lawmakers on the licensing committee agreed to allow the casino option for coastal areas in Texas to be included in House Joint Resolution 137 and that includes Corpus Christi. The original version only allowed the casino option for barrier islands like Galveston Island and South Padre Island.

Gambling on the Texas coast could be just what the region needs to revive its real estate market, which is at record low sales levels except for South Padre, which is booming from Mexican real estate investors. See article.

If the bill passes in the House, it then goes before the Senate for a vote. The proposed constitutional amendment could go before state voters in November, and even if it does not make it this time, the next time the legislators regroup, the economic situation in Texas could force the hand, if the state budget does not improve.

  • Real estate demand and property values would skyrocket from Gambling related investments and related tourism, you can bet on that.
Galveston County Commissioner Patrick Doyle, who represents the Bolivar Peninsula, said the idea of helping rebuild the eroded tax base swept clean by Hurricane Ike could only happen if legislators and locals approved of one-armed bandits and roulette wheels.

“I think Bolivar would be a perfect fit for many reasons,” Doyle said. “There are big reasons why people don’t want it in their backyard, but Bolivar is a geographically confined area, and you’d have to take a 30-minute ferry ride to get there.”

Taxes generated from the trickle-down effect of the gambling industry could help the county rebuild its ailing infrastructure and could support 2,500 jobs, Doyle said.

"It's been my observation that the Legislature looks more favorably upon the expansion of gaming legislation in years where it looks like the budget is going to be difficult to make without it. This doesn't appear to be one of those years as we're figuring our way through the stimulus package," said Republican House Speaker Joe Straus.

Speaker Pro Tempore Craig Eiland of Galveston, an ally of Straus, filed legislation with Rep. Carol Alvarado of Houston that would let voters decide in November whether to allow casino gambling on islands like Galveston, in large cities and on Indian reservations. It also would allow expanded gambling at existing racetracks. If voters approve, the governor would call the Legislature back by June 2010 to work out the details.

"I think that Texans spend way too much money in Louisiana and Nevada and other states that allow gambling. ... Texans like to gamble," Alvarado said. "I think it ought to stay here in Texas. I believe taking it to the voters first is the more appropriate thing to do. And then if it passes, we'll come back and determine what type of gaming we'll have."

That would prevent Republican Gov. Rick Perry - who has said he doesn't want to expand the "footprint" of gambling in the state but at one time supported video slot machines at racetracks - from having to decide on legislation or call a special session until after his March 2010 gubernatorial primary against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Perry needs the support of social conservatives who oppose gambling.

Sens. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, and John Carona, a Dallas Republican, unveiled their casino legislation Tuesday and said that Texans are gambling, but they're going to out-of-state casinos to do it. They said the state of Texas should get a take of that action through casinos' tax revenue and jobs.

The proposal calls for up to 12 "destination resort" casinos, meaning they would be major real estate developments that would include retail and other entertainment, Carona said. Two casinos would be allowed on Gulf islands with at least 1,000 guest rooms in hotels and condominiums, meaning gambling establishments could open in South Padre Island and Galveston, both of which have been struggling to revive their economies after last summer's hurricanes.

Other casinos could be located on Indian lands and urban areas of the state. The measure also would allow slot machines at existing horse and dog race tracks and casino gambling on Texas Indian reservations.

Texas Gaming Association

1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 450
Austin, Texas 78701
Tel: 512-476-4376
www.texas-gaming-association.org


The Texas Gaming Association is committed to educating Texans about the benefits of legalized destination resort casinos and encouraging passage of a constitutional amendment to allow a limited number of destination resort casinos in Texas. Our plan will create jobs, educate our children, and provide the money we need for highways.

The Texas Gaming Association has a plan to address our state’s challenges. Our proposal will invest in Texas by dedicating $1 billion for college scholarships and $1 billion in new revenue for transportation projects each year.

Texans spend approximately $6 billion in other states on gaming each year, resulting in a considerable amount of tax revenue that goes to pay for the schools, roads, and health care in neighboring states like Louisiana.

Our plan would keep that money in our state, and at the same time make Texas a tourist destination for people in other states by building a limited number of world-class destination resort casinos across the state.

Texas’ Results:
  • State and local tax revenue of $3 to $4.5 billion per year, with $1 billion constitutionally dedicated to providing free college tuition and fees for as many as 240,000 qualifying Texas high school students and $1 billion constitutionally dedicated for road and highway construction.
  • The creation of 87,756 to 118,403 direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of supporting jobs.
  • Investment of $31 billion to $45 billion in capital improvements.
  • $21 billion in new economic activity from construction.
  • $14–$19 billion in new economic activity from tourism each year.
  • A total annual positive economic impact of $51 billion.
Why are destination resort casinos the best choice for Texas?

According to the National Gaming Impact Study, destination resort casinos offer the greatest economic impact to any state considering an expansion of gaming. Destination resort casinos offer the highest capital investment, typically $1.5 - $2.0 billion per facility, and draw the majority of customers from outof- state. Destination resort casinos would not only allow Texas to capture a great portion of the roughly $6 billion in gaming revenue that leaves the state each year, but to draw significant revenue from out-of-state tourists and convention attendees.

Texans Overwhelmingly Support Our Proposal for Destination Resort Casinos. We asked voters whether they would support or oppose the following amendment:

“The amendment would allow a limited number of destination resort casinos in counties around Texas. This would lead to approximately $4 billion in revenue for the state. This money would be placed in trust funds to pay college tuition for every Texas high school student who maintains a B grade average or higher as well as pay for new transportation improvements and road construction projects throughout the state.”

Voters overwhelmingly support an amendment to allow a limited number of destination resort casinos in the state.




Editors Note
"What an impact casinos would have for the economies and real estate values on the Texas coast." Already there is "under-ground" gambling using slot machines on South Padre Island, Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

So it's already here and widely supported by the local residents. We may as well capture that value for the public and also control the activities. Not to mention keep the billions of dollars we are sending to our neighboring states in Texas and draw in billions more in additional tourism.

It's time to take action and allow our resorts to compete on an international level and provide benefits for all of Texas.


Illegal Eight-Liners are Rampant Throughout Texas.

Countless police raids on illegal eight-liner operations have failed to significantly reduce their prevalence throughout the state. In the Houston area alone, it is estimated that there over 500 illegal eight-liner parlors. A 2004 study by the Texas Lottery Commission estimated that Texans spend roughly $2 billion each year on eight-liners. Some estimates show that there are up to 150,000 illegal eight liners across the State of Texas. (Texas Lottery Commission Study: April 19, 2004)


Assessing the impact of casino gambling on crime in Mississippi

The introduction of legalized gambling into a community has generated a great deal of hubris regarding concomitant criminality. While Las Vegas has long been synonymous with organized crime, the recent focus has been on the connection between traditional crime and legalized gambling.

The conventional wisdom among opponents of this new source of revenue is that casinos attract many undesirables to the community, thereby increasing crime and social disorganization. Routine activities theory would suggest that with increased numbers of tourists, more opportunities for crime will exist.

To test this proposition, the frequency of crime before and after the introduction of legalized gambling in Biloxi, Mississippi was examined. Larcey-theft and motor vehicle theft were the only categories of crime to show statistically significant change. Robbery and aggravated assault increased, while murder and rape declined, although the change was not statistically significant for any category of violent crime.

Read the full Mississippi Crime Impact report here

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