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Lawmaker Takes Another Crack At Legalized Gambling In Texas

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

This is the sixth gambling bill that Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, has authored in the last decade and he is hoping for the passage of a constitutional amendment that allows Texas voters to decide on the issue of legalized gambling.

"This SJR (Texas Senate Joint Resolution) would authorize three competitively bid destination resort/casino licenses in large urban counties - Dallas County, Bexar County and Tarrant County - and three casino licenses for the barrier island counties," Carona said.

The barrier island counties include Gavelston Island, South Padre Island and Corpus Christi.

Carona said a study of gambling in Texas indicates an estimated 80 percent of voters would support the measure. He goes on to say that a portion of the money gained from casino gambling would be put to good use.

"This bill dedicates 85 percent of the tax revenue generated to the property tax relief fund, and 10 percent of the tax revenue to local governments where gaming institutions are to be located. The remainder of the funds will be dedicated to support the prosecution of gaming-related criminal offenses and a compulsive gambling program," Carona said.

Gov. Rick Perry does not have the power of a veto because this bill is a constitutional amendment. Carona is not sure if the bill has the votes to pass this session, but hopes the issue is one voters can decide in the coming years.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.