Should gambling be legal in the state of Texas?

Should gambling be legal in the state of Texas?

It's a debate that's been going on for years now.

Some say yes, while others say it just doesn't provide a steady revenue stream.

We sat down with two Amarillo lawmakers to find out how they feel about the gambling issue.

When we spoke with Representatives Four Price and John Smithee, they both informed me, they were not in support of gambling in Texas, but their opinions were not exactly the same.

"Personally, I don't think it makes financial sense to bring casinos into our backyard," said Price.

Price says he doesn't want casinos in Texas for three reasons.

He says, for one thing, other states have tried it, and it hasn't solved any of their budgeting struggles.

"The cost should outweigh the benefit. Studies have shown that, you've got increased cost associated with social service spending, law enforcement, legal expense, increased regulation and that it's actually been detrimental to the state's coffers instead of helpful."

He says it's just not a predictable and stable source of revenue.

John Smithee says he couldn't agree more, and he says over the years he has had to turn down multiple donations from Oklahoma casino owners.

"It's a true part of the political battle that's occurring in Texas, it's not always easy to tell who's on what side, there are certain groups that don't want casinos in Texas for their own reasons, other groups want to be able to come to Texas and make money here."

Many proposals touting the benefits of gambling have been brought to the table by different people, but Smithee says there just haven't been any that were good enough to convince him they were good for the state.

"The proposals I've seen, in my judgment weren't good for Texas, and I guess I am anti-gambling to the standpoint that from a common sense standpoint, it just doesn't appear that there's going to be a real benefit to Texas."

However, while John Smithee says there isn't any type of gambling he would like to see in Texas, Four Price says he would entertain the idea of expanding on what is already allowed.

"I'm not an advocate for expanding gambling's footprint in the state of Texas, but there are issues particular to where gambling is already going on that should be fully developed and looked at to see if it makes sense."

When we asked Smithee if he ever thought gambling would be legal in Texas, he said, politically you can never say never.