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Posts Tagged ‘gambling

NPT Capitol: Final draft of gambling HJR circulating, Tiguas in

The final (well…probably the final) draft of House Licensing Chair Ed Kuempel’s omnibus gambling bill has begun circulating the capitol. Language authorizing the Tigua Indians to re-open Speaking Rock Casino remains included.

According to one Austin source (armed with a spread sheet) the bills backers have 87 yeas, 45 nays and 34 maybes – that totals 166 house members, meaning that some House member’s names appear in two categories (i.e. maybe leaning yes, maybe leading no).

The draft tidies up a few parts of the previous draft making it narrower in scope.

Firstly the definition of “coastal barrier Islands” is narrowed to islands 25 miles in length connected to the mainland by bridges. “Dredge spoil islands” at least 18 miles in length in coastal islands are added in too. “Populous Metropolitan areas” remains the rather vaguely coded nod to Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston developing Vegas style resorts – but does El Paso count as a “populous metropolitan area”? Could other small cities one day be classed as “populous metropolitan areas”?

The section authorizing Tigua and Coushatta gambling has words that limit operations to El Paso and Polk Counties added in. This seems to be to prevent other Indian tribes outside the state using the section to claim that they can set up shop in Texas.

Read the full resolution after the jump.

–Ben Wright

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm

NPT Capitol: Tiguas in rough draft of gambling omnibus bill

A draft of the omnibus constitutional amendment proposal, promised several weeks ago by Licensing Chair Ed Kuempel, R-Seguin, has been doing the rounds at the capitol as of Tuesday evening.

The draft would put to voters the idea that any form of gambling could be authorized in Texas, providing that counties decide for themselves what kind, through a local election. The bill explicitly states, (in draft form as of press) that it “does not prohibit a federally recognized Indian tribe from conducting gaming on land in this State that was held in trust or recognized as tribal land of the tribe by the United States on January 1, 1998.”

In short, that means the Tiguas are in the bill. (That could change as NPT noted here several weeks ago.)

The bill, as drafted is very broad, meaning that the fights between different gaming interests, which have plagued the various efforts to legalize gambling this session, will have to move to the House floor. Time is simply running out for any further debate in committee. The bill would also require a lot of enabling legislation, which couldn’t be passed until the 2011 session – so don’t cancel that trip to Vegas just yet.

The bill would need 100 votes on the House floor and 21 in the Senate to make it onto the ballot in 2009.15

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 28, 2009 at 11:01 pm

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NPT Capitol: Tiguas in but could be out later

According to the Dallas Morning News, a gambling omnibus bill is getting closer to hitting the House floor, which would also allow the Tiguas to Re-open Speaking Rock Casino.

The bill “would allow up to 17 resort casinos: 3 on Indian reservations; 2 on the South Texas barrier islands; 1 in the Port Arthur area; 3 at Class 1 racetracks; 2 at Class 2 racetracks; and 6 others spread out across the rest of the state,” said the DMN article, also noting that the bills backers vote count is in the 90s. (They need a hundred to send it over the Senate.)

NPT have been following the bill closely and have argued that the criminal history of Tigua Gov. Frank Paiz is an immovable road block to the Tiguas being included in the bill. NPT has also argued that Paiz might be wise to dig his heels in because any gambling bill may be D.O.A if it hit the House or Senate floor.

After talking with sources in Austin, a slightly new logic seems to be emerging. The Tiguas have not got to work to get in the bill – they have to work to stay in it.

First, big gaming interests are by no means convinced a bill will pass – so why bother booting the Tiguas out at this stage? Second, if the issue of Paiz came up, the Tiguas could be removed from the bill on the floor of either the House or Senate (or in conference committee) by amending the bill to remove language authorizing gaming on their reservation.

Paiz may still have to walk in order for them to be included in the bill. But with the emphasis being on staying in rather than getting in, they have more time.

–Ben Wright

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

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NPT Capitol: Chente weighs in on the gambling debate

State Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-El Paso, spoke in favor of HJR 99 which would put the issue of gambling directly to Texas voters.

Today, a plethora of gambling bills are being heard at the Capitol. The Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures will hear from the various gaming interests – in particular Racinos, Casinos, and Tribal.

But so far those interests have yet to come to a consensus on how to move forward in expanding gambing in Texas. Quintanilla’s HJR 99 aims to simplify the debate and stop general support for gambling being diluted by competing bills. HJR 99, if approved by voters, would give Texas Counties a local option when it came to any form of gaming.

“My bill is one of nine bills which address some form of gaming in the state. My bill is very favorable to gaming in El Paso; that is very important to me,” Quintanilla said.

Read the full press release after the jump

–Ben Wright Read the rest of this entry »

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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NPT Capitol: New Poll could be good news for the Tiguas

According a new poll conducted on behalf of the pro-gambling PAC Texans for Economic Reform, a majority of Texans support slot machine gambling at Indian casinos and race tracks.

More interestingly for the Tiguas:

–Support is pretty bipartisan: Support ranges from 56% of conservative Republicans to 76% of moderate/liberal Democrats.

–75% of Texans polled think slot machine gambling is ok once informed about the perceived benefits of expanding gambling. (i.e. greater self sufficiency for tribes, job creation, how much Texans already spend gambling in border states etc)

–82% of Texans polled think that the issue should be decided by voters on the ballot (via constitutional amendment) rather than by politicians fiddling with the law in Austin.

Source: Baselice and Associates

–Ben Wright

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

February 23, 2009 at 11:19 am