The Obama Administration is trying to drive major Texas policy again, this time with their legalizing of internet gambling.
The DOJ decision dovetails with some very bad behavior by the Texas Lottery Commission, and with the racetrack industry, who have tried and failed to get slot machines using repeated deceptive strategies that Attorney General Greg Abbott has shut down. The details get messy fast, so we’ll keep it simple.
The Texas racetrack industry, a constitutionally protected oligarchy at odds with free market principles, has tried to get slot machines legislatively and failed. They have also tried unsuccessfully to get it by designing two very creative ways to stretch the definition of existing games in order to include slot machines.
The Texas Lottery Commission has assisted them again (they’ve done it before) by quietly introducing scratch off games last fall that include a “second chance drawing” on the internet (they use the term “second chance drawing” because they can’t call them what they are, “sweepstakes”, because sweepstakes are illegal for the Texas Lottery to offer).
This gives the racetrack industry a chance to get slot machines through the side door. The Texas gambling industry is a cluster of separate gambling oligarchies. If one group gets something, the rest have a claim to get the same. Sparing the wonkish details, if the lottery can do internet second chance drawings the racetrack industry will claim the right to provide a version of the same thing that would, suspiciously, look exactly like a slot machine, something they’ve been unable to get the democratic way.
This fall the DOJ quietly released their pro-internet gambling opinion, of very questionable legality, in an attempt to legitimize these illegal games. It is not the first time the Obama Administration has tried to drive major culture-altering policy in Texas.
There is a way to beat them all. The Texas Lottery Commission is up for sunset review in the next legislature. We should call the entire lottery experiment just what it is: a mistake and sunset it.
Joe Straus, would personally gain HUGE financially if Gambling is approved in Texas.
The Texas lottery was only passed because they convinced Texans the lottery would substantially pay for public education in Texas. Even the Austin American-Statesman admits the poor performance. In a story from 2010, the Statesman reported that in 1996 the lottery covered two weeks of public education. As of 2010, it was good for 3 days and dropping.
Texas sunsetting the lottery would checkmate three bad actors here: The Obama Administration, the Texas Lottery Commission, and the racetrack industry.
–Austin American Statesman article on Texas Lottery failure
Weston Hicks researches and writes about associations in the Texas political realm, media choices, and political strategy. Over the past year he has advised on grassroots and voter initiatives. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso and a J.D. from University of Texas School of Law. He enjoys spending time with wife and three children, reading theology and political theory, and watching FC Barcelona. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Watch this video and be ready for the battles ahead.