Houston lawmaker leads push for casino gambling in Texas - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Houston lawmaker leads push for casino gambling in Texas

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

By the bus load, day after day, Texans looking to make a wager haul their hard earned cash across state lines.

Moments before boarding a Louisiana-bound carrier, Houstonians Lynn and Alan Goldstein said it's almost ridiculous that Texans can't do their gaming near home.

"It's been long enough," said Lynn.

"I think it's a great shame that we have to get all this money over to Louisiana.  You know, revenue that could come into Texas.  When you get there, 85 percent of the people are from Houston," said Alan.

Norris Patterson often drives three hours to Louisiana for gaming.  Patterson said it's contradictory for a state which claims to value personal liberty to keep out casinos.

"Bring it to Texas.  Allow Texans to do what they want to do," Patterson said.

"If the legislature will give the people of Texas a chance to vote, clearly the people of Texas are ready for it," Houston State Senator Rodney Ellis said.

Ellis has been looking to lift the ban on casinos since 1993.  2013 will be no different.  His legislation would take the ultimate decision out of the hands of fellow lawmakers, many of whom he believes have been suckered by gambling interests in surrounding states who stand to lose billions of dollars worth of Texas business.

"They (opposing lawmakers) are funded by competing interests and don't know it.  They are being used by competing interests," said Ellis.

With hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of new public dollars as the potential pay-off, Ellis believes, now more than ever, he's got the people's support.

"I want gaming like they have in Las Vegas where they have the pretty people come in and spend their money. I don't want people who just look like me. I want those folks who can afford the high dollar nipping and tucking and spend millions of dollars on clothes and hotel rooms. I want all those things that come with casino gaming," said Ellis.

Ellis would like to set aside about a fourth of the anticipated tax revenue from casino gambling for college scholarships.

He estimates the funding would pay tuition and fees for 240,000 Texas high school graduates each year.

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