Texas Horsemen's Group Urges Support for VLTs

By Raymond Whelan

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership has asked its 5,000 members to send e-mail or letters to Gov. Rick Perry and state legislators asking them to support a bill that would legalize video lottery terminals at the 10 licensed horse and dog tracks in the state.

So far, THP officials said more than 800 members have contacted state officials.

Supporters claim the VLT bill introduced by Texas Sen. Ken Armbrister in March would boost purses and permit horsemen to receive an equitable portion of the revenue generated by the machines. Also, the VLTs would yield several hundred million dollars each year and help the financially strapped state collect new revenue.

If passed by the state legislature and approved by the governor, VLTs would be legal by Sept. 1. However, the bill remains with the State Affairs Committee, and it has not yet scheduled a hearing.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, several Texas legislators may soon walk out of the state capital and temporarily break the quorum needed to conduct debate other matters. The regular session of the state legislature ends June 2.