ICYMI: Dallas Morning News: Overwhelming majority of Texans support casino gambling in state, new poll shows

Overwhelming majority of Texans support casino gambling in state, new poll shows 

By Aarón Torres

January 26, 2023

Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — An overwhelming majority of Texans support expanded gambling in the Lone Star State.

The poll was conducted by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston between Jan. 9 and 19. The poll found that 75% of Texans support a proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, that would legalize sports betting and allow for up to four upscale “destination resorts.”

Forty-one percent of the respondents strongly support Alvarado’s proposal, while 34% somewhat support it. Meanwhile, 25% of Texans oppose her bill, while 13% strongly oppose it. Also, 69% of born-again Christians and 61% of evangelical Protestants support Alvarado’s constitutional amendment. The poll was based on 1,200 respondents in English and Spanish.

The lobbying push in favor has intensified. Last year, the Las Vegas Sands contributed at least $3 million to dozens of lawmakers and legislative groups. The Sands and its associated political action committees and entities gave more than half — $1.7 million — to Republicans.

Expanded gambling in Texas, especially the push to allow several major casino-resort developments, is a high-stakes issue not just because it would create a new revenue stream for the state but also, proponents say, because it could be a game changer for tourism and economic development.

Some top GOP leaders’ opposition has softened. While in past years Gov. Greg Abbott has resisted loosening Texas’ gaming laws, last fall, his spokeswoman Renae Eze told theHouston Chronicle he was open to expanding gambling. 

Earlier this month, House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, told reporters that he’s open to bringing resort-style casinos to Texas. Phelan explained that he doesn’t want to see slot machines inside convenience stores.

Read the full Dallas Morning News story.