May 18, 2009
AUSTIN - Efforts to legalize casino gambling in Texas have failed in this year's legislative session. State Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin said the fight is over. Kuempel is the author of the bill to amend the state constitution to let voters decide whether Texas should allow casinos.
Kuempel said lawmakers were more likely to approve gambling to fill the $9 billion budget void when their only other alternative was to raise taxes, so when $15 billion in federal economic stimulus money came from Washington, the bill sank.
"The stimulus package took some of the sting out of the money crunch we were in this session," Kuempel said.
The failed bill was particularly tough on the Tiguas, whose Speaking Rock Casino was closed by court order in 2001. State Rep. Norma Chávez had authored an earlier bill to reopen the casino but political obstacles seemed too much to overcome this year.
Any measure to amend the constitution requires 100 votes of the 150 House legislators, and casino gambling may be too controversial to ever pass successfully.
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