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Con: Benefit from gambling exaggerated, cost real

By BY MELISSA CROWE - MCROWE@VICAD.COM
Feb. 17, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 17, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.


Opponents to the proposal say casinos are the only winners when it comes to betting.

While Texas is still a way off from putting the issue to vote - if it even gets that far - Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum, said it comes down to economics.

"A few people are going to make a lot of money off this: the elite," she said.

Since Texas opened the lottery, horse racing and dog racing, Adams said it has been one broken promise after another.

"It's promises made but promises not kept," she said.

The guarantee was that the state's coffers would overflow and funding for education would be plentiful, she said.

"But it is a drop in the bucket as far as money is concerned for education," Adams said. "Again, they have not delivered on their promises. Why in the world do we want to expand gambling and trust them on something even bigger?"

(Read: Pro: If done right, gambling can benefit Texas)

According to a study by John Warren Kindt titled "The Business-Economic Impacts of Licensed Casino Gambling in West Virginia: Short-Term Gain but Long-Term Pain," the positive impacts of the gaming industry are often inflated.

The study sites testimony from a 1994 congressional hearing in which all of the experts who testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business "criticized the impacts that casino-style gambling activities inflict upon the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, small businesses and the economy."

Adams said putting it to the people is a carefully planned strategy.

"They say, 'Let the people decide, just put it on the ballot,'" she said. "The fact is, the people do decide. ... What they're saying is don't let the legislators, who are informed, put it out there."

She fears if it gets on the ballot, there will be no way to stop it, and if it passes, there will be no way to stand up against the financial clout of casinos.

Robert Hurst, a Dallas Realtor and former Victoria resident, said he does not want to see casinos anywhere in Texas.

He cannot see how gambling improved any economic status throughout New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Nevada, he said.

"Texas is already more economically stable than those states," he said. "I only see casinos lowering our status instead of improving it."

While he said he agreed with putting it to a vote, he said, "Enough people in Texas would agree with me and vote against it."

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