Skip to main content

TribBlog: Gambling 101

Coming soon to a large pink state capitol building in this very state: A day-long seminar on slot machines and casinos and all that, especially as it pertains to the state budget.

Lead image for this article

Coming soon to a large pink state capitol building in this very state: A day-long seminar on slot machines and casinos and all that, especially as it pertains to the state budget.

The Legislative Study group, headed by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, wants to get legislators together to hear the pros and cons of expanded gambling in the state.

"The members don't have any information on this stuff," Coleman says.

The issue arose a couple of weeks ago when Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, sent a letter to the leaders of groups on the right and left of the House, asking if they'd be interested in pulling together a committee on gambling. House Speaker Joe Straus — whose family has business interests in horse racing — has basically recused himself from the subject. Dunnam thought that, with talk of an $18 billion budget hole resurrecting conversations about expansion and taxation of gambling, it was time for some hearings.

The two conservative groups he approached — led by Reps. Larry Taylor, R-Galveston, and Wayne Christian, R-Center — decided not to take part. That was that until Coleman jumped back in. He hasn't set a date, but says he wants to present "information without a point of view."

"If we're going to make a decision, it shouldn't just be somebody walking in the office and saying the money would mean help."

The Texas Tribune Member Drive Fall 2021 banner

Support public-service journalism that’s always free to read.

Yes, I'll donate today