Could There Be Casinos In San Angelo Anytime Soon?
Some people have a taste for gaming chips. I have never found them appetizing. More on that coming up.
As of now, Texas has three operating casinos. None of them are particularly close to San Angelo. They include the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, Naskila Gaming in Livingston, and the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in El Paso.
These are all tribal casinos. Casinos like those in Las Vegas are a long way from being legalized in Texas. It would be a long process.
Before every Texas legislative session, there are sensational headlines that tout this as possibly being THE year that legalized gambling occurs. This has been going on for at least 30 years.
What's different this year are polls that show Texans overwhelmingly favor a proposed constitutional amendment by Senator Carol Alvarado of Houston, that would legalize gaming and online sports betting sites at up to four luxury destination resorts. The latest shows that 75% of Texans in a January 9-19 Hobby School of Public Affairs at the Unversity of Houston poll say they favor legal sports betting in the state.
Even so, despite public support, this won't be the year.
This bill would require two-thirds approval by both the Texas House and Senate. Since when have two-thirds of Texas politicians agreed on anything? Couple that with the fact that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who presides over the Senate has shown no desire to support any legislation to legalize gambling in Texas.
There are some powerful supporters, including Mark Cuban, who wants to build a Vegas-style casino and resort complex in the heart of Dallas. Another supporter is the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has also backed the idea and they've put up campaign cash.
Isn't that what really makes the world go around?
Governor Abbott received $1 in donations from Sands and both he and House Speaker Dade Phelan of Beaumont have said they would support a "limited rollout of gaming in Texas", including four major destination resorts and eight smaller casinos in medium-sized cities across the state.
Might San Angelo be one of those?
I wouldn't count on it. San Angelo is not on a major interstate highway. Plans are to build an interstate through San Angelo, but it's a long way down the road, forgive the pun. We can't even get a Buc-ees for that reason.
On top of that, there would be major opposition from church groups across San Angelo. Perhaps the best gaming fans can hope for is more flights to Las Vegas.
I must admit the Pearl of the Concho Casino has a nice ring to it. There is so much our area could do to uplift us all with the influx of tax revenue.
I would urge our state legislators to pass Senator Alvarado's measure and let the people vote in November. It's time We The People get a say.
Despite the headlines you may have seen elsewhere, the effort to let the voters decide on legalized casinos won't happen this year.
If it does I'll eat a gaming chip and you can hold me to that. As I said at the beginning of this article, I don't find them appetizing. It's not a bet I expect to lose.
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