New Texas Gambling Survey Shows Support Edging Out Opposition

The topic of allowing casinos in Texas has been met with opposition from politicians, which doesn't favor a positive response. However, with a new survey showing more support from voters, lawmakers, dealing with a hotly-contested election year, may have to listen closely.

The Texas lone star emblem on a gate. (Source: Getty Images)

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The Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation conducted a survey, polling 1,600 likely Texas voters. It revealed a significant majority—56%—in favor of legislation for destination resort casinos. This sentiment is echoed across various demographics, with 61% of men and 52% of women, and notably high support among Black and Hispanic communities, at 68% and 58%, respectively.

Nearly half of the residents, 47%, are in favor of online sports betting, according to the survey. The support for sportsbooks operating inside professional sports venues is slightly less, with 41% approval, yet it's notable that the opposition stands close at 42%, indicating a divided opinion on the matter.

Given the results of this survey, it is clear that the public appetite for additional gaming opportunities now matches the political appetite, not only with traditional supporters of gaming, but also with church-going Texans and women – that is a major change from what we have seen in recent legislative cycles.

Jason Villalba Chairman and CEO of the TXHPF

Interestingly, the support for gambling expansion is not limited to non-religious segments; even among self-identified "Born-Again" Christians, 52% favored destination resort casinos. This is a notable shift from traditional opposition within religious communities and reflects a nuanced view of gambling's role in society.

Las Vegas Sands has been actively lobbying for the legalization of casino gambling in Texas, facing significant legislative challenges along the way. Despite a well-funded campaign and the employment of a substantial number of lobbyists, their efforts have met with resistance within the state legislature. The company's strategy included proposing the construction of destination resorts in Texas' largest metropolitan areas, which would represent a significant change in the state's gaming laws, among the most restrictive in the US.

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Texans Warming Up to Casinos

The survey underscores a broader trend in Texas, where attitudes towards gambling and casino development are shifting. A study by the University of Houston found an overwhelming 75% of Texans backing major changes to the state's gambling laws, suggesting a readiness to embrace casino resorts in Texas' major metropolitan areas.

Similarly, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 57% of likely Texas voters would endorse casino gambling to help reduce the state's budget deficit, indicating a pragmatic approach to gambling as a potential revenue source. The data suggests a growing acceptance of gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment and economic development.

The broad support spans political affiliations as well, with Democrats, Republicans and Independents showing similar levels of approval for the legislation. This bipartisan agreement suggests that the economic benefits of gambling expansion are recognized across the political spectrum.


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