HOUSTON – The opportunities for Texans yearning to get a foothold in casino gambling in the Lone Star State have never been better.
“I think it’s long overdue. I think Texans are ready, their appetites are wet, it’s ready,” said State Senator Carol Alvarado.
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The Houston Democrat is again proposing a quartet of gaming resorts, each equipped with luxury hotels, restaurants, convention centers and entertainment venues.
“It’s not like someone would put up a blackjack table or put up a slot machine in a supermarket or bar,” Alvarado said.
If approved, Alvarado’s move would give Texans the final say in a statewide referendum.
“I think Texans deserve the right to vote on this because they travel to so many states near and far to play. Texans love to play,” Alvarado explained.
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Polls consistently support this claim, with a large majority of Texans anxious to see casinos under construction here sooner rather than later.
Alvarado sees the limited number of regulated gaming resorts as a magnet for out-of-state tourism and the prospect of significant job creation.
“It would be a boost for our economy and would diversify our economy,” she said. “I think we should always reinvent ourselves. How can we diversify the Texas economy?”
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Aside from popular enthusiasm, Alvarado’s casino bill has garnered support from House Speaker Dade Phelan and, for the first time, a willingness from Gov. Abbott to give Texans a choice.
That leaves Alvarado’s colleagues in the State Senate and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick as potentially the final and greatest hurdle.
“You speak of 185,000 direct and indirect jobs,” said Alvarado.