The sound of slot machines soon could become reality at Sam Houston Race Park as casino gambling gains support in Austin. A measure waiting a committee vote in the Texas Senate would allow slot machines in all racetracks and casino resorts near Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio.
Supporters believe this is is the year, adding both casino operators and the racetracks are finally on board.
“Casinos are not intended to solve all problems, these are complex economies with a lot of moving parts,” says Andrea Young, president and COO of Sam Houston Race Park. “What we are talking about is significant job creation, significant economic development in the billions of dollars per year.”
Young asks what better motivation to bring gambling to Texas than hearing that Oklahoma is the number three gaming market in the U.S.?
“Are we sick of seeing Oklahoma steal our football players, our horses, our horse industry, our veterinarians and breeders?” asks Young. “Or are we going to start helping our people stay home where they should be?”
Young says its about keeping Texas money in Texas.
“We're talking about recapturing $3-4 billion dollar per year that is going to neighboring states,” she says.
However, some religious and liberal groups still oppose gambling on moral grounds, and plan to fight the gaming measure.