This week, John T. Montford, the spokesperson for Let Texans Decide, published an op-ed in the Austin-American Statesman calling for Texans to demand the right to vote on legalized expanded gambling in the state.
John Montford is a former Lubbock County district attorney, state senator, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and executive with AT&T and General Motors.
Each year our fellow Texans spend more than $2.5 billion in strategically placed, just-across-the-border gaming facilities in Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. That includes $1 billion in Oklahoma, alone. Simply put, Texans are creating jobs and paying for schools, firefighters and other infrastructure needs across our borders. Texas is getting fleeced by our neighbors. I firmly believe that bringing back the billions of dollars that are leaving Texas and going to our neighbor states is a service to our state. The Legislature should let us vote to stop it.
I'm not alone in this belief. Poll after poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Texas voters, regardless of political party or geographic region, believe that Texans are smart enough to decide this issue. For those who believe that gambling is morally wrong, I respectfully ask: Doesn't it make more sense to regulate an activity that good Texans are already doing in huge numbers?
Montford goes on to outline the economic benefits that legalized gambling could promote, including additional jobs:
The potential benefits to our economy are huge. Depending on the specifics, expanded gaming could create 75,000 permanent jobs in 40 different sectors of the economy, and it would bring several billion dollars in economic development to Texas.
Texans are smart enough to decide this issue in a statewide referendum and the Legislature has the power to make that happen. For me, this issue comes down to a pretty simple question: Are you for Texas, or are you for Oklahoma? It's time to let Texans decide.
To find out how you can help support the push for a vote on legalized expanded gaming in Texas, visit LetTexansDecide.com today!
The issue of expanding legalized casino-style gaming in Texas deserves a spot on the ballot.
It's no secret that many Texans are already gambling. Casinos in neighboring states pull in an estimated $2.5 billion annually from Texas customers, to say nothing of the many unregulated and illegal gaming rooms around the state. Additionally, some turn to unregulated "game rooms" for gaming options, further draining revenue from state coffers.
Let Texans Decide is a coalition of state business leaders, horsemen, community organizations, and Texas citizens who are fed up with watching $2.5 billion leave our border annually to Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. We are tired of the political wrangling in Austin that has stopped Texans from deciding once and for all the fate of casino-style gaming in our state.
John T. Montford will be leading the public effort, and recently gave an interview to the Texas Tribune arguing for Texans' right to decide on gambling. Read the transcript here, or check out the video.
We need your help! There is no better time than now to encourage your legislator to allow Texans an opportunity to vote on this issue. Please sign our online petition, and don't forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest gaming news!