Democratic State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and Republican Rep. Beverly Woolley filed legislation March 3 to allow Texas voters to decide whether to allow slot machines at existing horse and Greyhound tracks along with federally recognized Indian reservations.
Both legislators filed joint resolutions that would trigger statewide constitutional amendment elections as well as the corresponding enabling legislation detailing the proposal.
“For years Texas has missed out on billions of dollars in gaming and entertainment revenues while neighboring states pocket the winnings," Hinojosa said in a statement. "This proposal is the first major revenue generating proposal of this session - it will help keep the money we lose to other states in Texas, and put new revenues on the table without increasing taxes."
Economic studies indicate that the legislation as proposed would bring in about $1 billion a year in tax revenue and create more than 77,000 Texas jobs across a wide variety of sectors. Currently, Texas loses revenue to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico at a rate of $2.5 billion a year, studies show.
"The people of Texas should have the opportunity to decide whether or not to add slot machines to Texas' racetracks and federally recognized Indian reservations," Woolley said. "This legislation gives Texans a voice to decide our economic future."
In a recent poll conducted by Baselice and Associates, Inc., 82% of Texas voters favored the right to vote on adding slot machines to racetracks and federally recognized Indian reservations. A full 64% favored the specific proposal. Support was evenly spread across all partisan and demographic subgroups.