CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – State politicians are preparing for the next legislative session in 2023. Bills are expected to be introduced. One of them is a constitutional amendment to legalize casinos and sports betting. The bill was introduced by Houston-area State Senator Carol Alvarado.
The change would create the Texas Gaming Commission as the regulatory body. It would establish four casino resorts in major Texas cities with populations over two million. The bill states that there are different tiers of gaming licenses, and a lower license would allow gaming in smaller towns across Texas.
A few members of the Corpus Christi City Council agreed that legalizing gambling could be a benefit to the community.
“I think if regulated properly, it could be a really good thing for communities,” Councilor John Martinez said. “It brings additional revenue streams so the cities, the counties and the state don’t have to collect taxes.”
“I think if we had an organized process, meaning a regulated process where these places could be checked, that would be handled by the legislature,” said Councilor Roland Barrera. There is a regulator checking this.”
The bill calls for taking revenue and taxes from gambling and using them for education and public safety. Once discussions start, this can be changed at any time. The councilor expressed what he believed the money would be needed for if Corpus Christi would benefit.
“We’ve always had a problem with funding our education,” Barrera said. “We had problems financing our roads, much of our infrastructure. A major challenge we face here in Corpus Christi right now is water.”
“There are many other issues in the city that could hopefully be addressed with this,” Martinez said. “Some of our homelessness issues that we have here could hopefully be addressed with some of that money. As well as some mental health issues.”
What negative aspects could be associated with the introduction of gambling?
Barrera said margins have always been a problem because they attracted criminal behavior. But he believes if there is regulation of gambling, it would reduce the pull of crime.
Martinez believes the funds raised could be used to fix negative outcomes.
“With the money that we’re getting, I think it’s important that the issues that could arise with gambling, gambling addiction, depression and things like that are properly addressed,” Martinez said. “And that there are resources that are available for the event that is happening.”
The earliest that could be seen on a ballot is the November 2023 election.
The next legislative period begins on January 10, 2023.
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