Tribpedia: Gaming/gambling

There are casinos in about 20 U.S. states, but not Texas, whose Constitution officially bans gambling. For several sessions in the early aughts, some lawmakers and interest groups have tried to bring various styles of gambling to Texas. The idea failed many times, but the budget crisis of 2011 brought on renewed hopes for gambling legislation. Proposals for increased ...

Developer Jack E. Pratt, Sr., chairman of the Texas Gaming Association, speaks to the press on March 28, 2011.
Developer Jack E. Pratt, Sr., chairman of the Texas Gaming Association, speaks to the press on March 28, 2011.

Jack Pratt: The TT Interview

The head of the Texas Gaming Association, who's trying to convince Texas lawmakers to legalize casinos, on what's different this year, whether the tracks and casinos are playing nice, what he says to people who just don't like gambing, and how his likes his chances.

Jack Pratt: The TT Interview

Jack Pratt, chairman of the Texas Gaming Association, has tried for years to convince Texas lawmakers to let voters decide whether to allow casinos in the state. He's back again, proposing a combination of casinos, "racinos" (racetracks with slot machines), and Indian casinos that he and his economists say would bring more than $1.2 billion into the state treasury every year.  We asked Pratt about the new proposal, the political environment, and the odds.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/21/11

Our latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll on the budgetimmigration and gambling, Galbraith on the doubts raised by power blackouts, M. Smith on efforts to get state backing for charter school debt, Ramshaw talks Medicaid with state Rep. Garnet Coleman, Musa on what cuts would do to the Texas Youth Commission, E. Smith's TribLive interview with three freshman state reps, Aaronson on sonograms-before-abortions legislation, Grissom on the largest mental health institution in the state — the Harris County Jail, and a big update to our government employee payroll database: The best of our best content from Feb. 21 to 25, 2011.

UT/TT Poll: Texans Are Ready to Roll the Dice

A majority of the state's voters say they're ready for full-blown casino gambling, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. In a range of questions on social and other issues, they say they support requiring voters to produce photo IDs, government aid to the poor, the death penalty and requiring doctors to show sonogram results to women seeking abortions.

UT/Texas Tribune Poll: Mixed Signals on Budget Cuts

By a margin of more than 2 to 1, Texas voters believe that lawmakers should solve the state's massive shortfall by cutting the budget, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, but their enthusiasm dissipates when asked if they support specific cuts. "We really want to slash the budget, but not anything in it," says pollster Daron Shaw, a professor of government at UT.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/17/11

The Trib staff on the sweeping cuts in the proposed House budget, Grissom on what's lost and not found at the Department of Public Safety, Galbraith on the wind power conundrum, Hamilton on higher ed's pessimistic budget outlook, Stiles and Swicegood debut an incredibly useful bill tracker app, Ramsey interviews Rick Perry on the cusp of his second decade as governor, Aguilar on a Mexican journalist's quest for asylum in the U.S., Ramshaw on life expectancy along the border, M. Smith on the obstacles school districts face in laying off teachers and yours truly talks gambling and the Rainy Day Fund with state Rep. Jim Pitts: The best of our best from January 17 to 21, 2011.

State Representative Jim Pitts, representing District 10. District 10 includes Ellis County and Hill County, Texas.
State Representative Jim Pitts, representing District 10. District 10 includes Ellis County and Hill County, Texas.

A Conversation With Jim Pitts

The Waxahachie Republican talks about the size of the budget shortfall, the possibility of new revenue sources and why he'd support legalized gambling.

A rooster that was euthanized because it was severely injured during a forced fight at a southeast Dallas cockfighting ring that police busted Oct. 18.
A rooster that was euthanized because it was severely injured during a forced fight at a southeast Dallas cockfighting ring that police busted Oct. 18.

Loopholes Allow Cockfighting to Thrive

Cockfighting in Texas has been illegal for decades, but a lengthy Humane Society investigation uncovered more than a dozen active rings throughout the state. What's not illegal is raising fighting game cocks, attending a cockfight or possessing paraphernalia related to cock fights — such as gaffs, the razor blades owners strap to the birds' legs to make them even more lethal. Animal rights activists came close in the last legislative session to getting such activities criminalized, which they say is critical to putting an end to cockfighting. They plan to try again next year. 

Insiders on How the Budget Will Be Balanced

For this week's installment of our non-scientific survey of political and policy insiders on issues of the moment, we focused on the budget. Specifically, we asked how big the shortfall is going to be, how the Legislature will close the gap and which areas of the budget are most likely to be cut.

"Check your ticket" lottery machine in an Austin, TX gas station.
"Check your ticket" lottery machine in an Austin, TX gas station.

Critics Blast Lottery's Renewed Deal With GTECH

Citing performance issues and alleging a conflict of interest, critics blasted Friday's decision by the Texas Lottery Commission to renew a 10-year operations contract worth up to $1 billion with Rhode Island-based GTECH Corporation, the state’s primary lottery vendor since its 1992 inception.

Arlene Wohlgemuth: The TT Interview

The former budget-slashing Texas House member and current executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation on how she reads the mood out there, what reductions in state spending should be on the table, whether cost-shifting to local school districts is a plausible option, why lawmakers should forget about new sources of revenue, the trouble with Medicaid and what members of the Republican near-supermajority in the Legislature must do to keep the confidence of voters — and get re-elected.

Gambling Interests Push Lawmakers to Allow Casinos

It was more like a bidding auction today than a meeting of the Texas House Committee on Licensing and Regulation. Gambling advocates packed into three Capitol hearing rooms, and threw out number after number as they asked legislators — yet again — to consider the benefits of more gaming in Texas.