gambling

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Charity bingo operators across the state are worried that allowing resort casinos in Texas could hurt their ability to raise money for nonprofit organizations.

Lawmakers are considering whether to hold a referendum on allowing expanded gambling in Texas. David Wittie of ADAPT of Texas, which advocates for disability rights, told lawmakers today that bingo revenues are the lifeblood for 1,400 charities across the state.

Bobby Blanchard, KUT News

Texas voters would decide whether or not casinos would be allowed in the state, if state lawmakers approve a referendum that would amend the state Constitution.

State Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) said his proposal would allow 21 casinos to be distributed throughout the state, and would create a gambling commission. Carona, the author of the bill, said it is time Texas allows for casinos and slot machines, so the state doesn't fall behind other states economically.

Michael Kappel/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/m-i-k-e/6032969150/

Efforts to expand legalized gambling in Texas got new life this week. Senator John Carona was permitted to submit after the filing deadline a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a Texas Gaming Commission and allow for up to four casino resort destinations in highly populated counties.

Other gaming bills were referred to committee this week, including one that seeks to authorize online poker gambling. But some social conservatives say they are ready to fight gaming efforts. 

Rob Boudon/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/robboudon/5817404296/

People who want Texas to open its doors to legalized casino gambling are pinning their hopes on the 2013 state legislative session. Several bills have been filed that would allow a statewide vote on the issue.

One proposed constitutional amendment by State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) would allow slot machines at racetracks, and casino resorts in urban areas, on tribal land and at locations along the Gulf Coast. Another proposal by State Representative Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) requires the governor to call a special legislative session to consider gaming legislation. 

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Thirty-three percent of likely voters and the same percentage of all Texans support legalizing and marijuana, according to a new poll conducted by University of Texas researchers and sponsored by the Texas Lyceum.

“One-third is more support than I would have predicted for it,” pollster and UT-Austin professor Darren Shaw told KUT News. “It either says something about the subtlety of opinion in Texas, or it says something about how significant the budget crunch is now.”