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Gambling for Windstorm Insurance Deshotel proposed a constitutional amendment authorizing the operation of casino gaming in certain coastal areas of the state of Texas by licensed persons to provide additional money for residual windstorm insurance coverage and catastrophic flooding assistance in the coastal areas; providing for certification or licensing of persons engaged in occupations related to casino gaming. Deshotel’s bill would require that current license-holders at racetracks to obtain two-thirds of the nine licenses he proposes. The proposal promises would help out the homeowners who are living on the Texas Gulf Coast who have to pay for a very expensive hurricane insurance.
The bill would impose an 18 percent tax on casinos’ gambling revenue, diverting all of it to TWIA, until the agency’s available funding matches its liability. The rest would go into the state’s general fund and be dedicated to education and public services, Deshotel said. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association was originally created to serve as an “insurer of last resort,” to provide windstorm insurance to those who cannot find it on the open market.
To achieve this goal, TWIA offers policies at rates that are significantly lower in aggregate than what they would be needed to pay probable for the maximum losses.
As a result, TWIA has faced many persistent financial difficulties and crisis. Despite some improvements to its financial position during a lull in storm activity following 2008’s Hurricane Ike, last year’s Hurricane Harvey once again underlined the agency’s fiscally unsound position. The decision about whether or not to have gambling in Texas should be left up to Texans by voting for or against that.
This could include lifting the state ban on sports betting and helping find ways for local communities to decide their own laws and policies. Any revenue that comes from gambling in Texas should go towards major things such as, education and public services that can help Texans workers and not as a way to pay for handouts to big corporations. The reasons for someone to vote against and to keep gambling out of Texas is because the proponents of casino gambling usually wait for an economic downturn to build up their hysterical case. Yet even though Texas state government is in a good shape and has just been showered with $17 billion in national stimulus funds, the propaganda campaign has begun again.
Texans and the Legislature should resist this seductive call. When casinos come in, they lead to overwhelm traditional tourist attractions. They will also contribute to frivolous behaviors that could increase alcoholism, prostitution and of course compulsive gambling. Casinos make money because most gamblers lose money. The state government should not encourage this destructive, pathetic activity. Almost every dollar devoted to gambling is a dollar taken away from other forms of recreation. On the other hand, the good side of legalizing Casino gambling in Texas is to get the Legislature to find a chance to figure out better ways to fund state government.
This should be the session when the House and Senate may allow casino gambling. As it is, tens of thousands of Texans spend millions on casino gambling each year. Yet due to archaic state laws, they do it in neighboring states like Louisiana, Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Texas could capture a lot of that money by this targeted bill that permits casino gambling in certain areas. If I were a Texas Legislator, I would vote against gambling in Texas because gambling may help fund the government but on the other hand it will also lead to some other problems such as the contribution to unsavory behaviors like alcoholism, prostitution and compulsive gambling.
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