Texas Governor Calls Special Session

The addition of video lottery terminals at Texas dog and horse tracks will be one of the items discussed when the Texas state legislature convenes for a special session beginning on April 20. The special session can last as long as 30 days and the governor can call as many sessions as he wants.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the special legislative session to look for ways for the state to fix it's broken system of paying for public schools.

One of the ways Perry is pushing to fund the educational system is with the installation of video lottery terminals at the states five horseracing tracks and three Greyhound tracks.

"You have to remember this is not a racing or gaming bill, but a public finance bill that will assist in keeping Texas money in the state of Texas to help fund our educational system," said Jeff Greco, vice-president and general manager of Lone Star Park. "The addition of VLTs is just one of the governor's options. The governor requested that we, the racetracks, put together a business model and we have offered our insight."

Texas is bordered by New Mexico and Louisiana, both of which have expanded gaming. The Oklahoma legislature approved expanded gaming at racetracks last month, with machines expanded to go online later this year.

Greco said he was highly optimistic about the chances of the state looking to VLTs to assist in funding the educational system. "Right now, I am optimistic. There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about the possibility. This would not be an expansion of gaming in the state of Texas because the games would be located at current licensed gaming locations," he said.

The governor's proposal would have to clear both houses of the legislature and then be approved by the state's voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.

Last year Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declared voters must approve an amendment to the state constitution before the state lottery commission can move forward with the installation of VLTs.