general concern. They’ve agreed to sign off on a horse-racing bill and think two [gambling] bills are too onerous a burden to carry with the electorate. People are sophisticated enough to know how to spend their money for their own good.” Last fall Evans responded to an interviewer’s question about the exploitation of the poor by saying, “They’re poor, not dumb.” Over the last three years, millions of dollars have been pumped into a campaign by the horse-racing industry to legalize pari-mutuel betting in Texas. The industry, which fell just short of winning in the 1983 Legislature, has spread its money throughout state government to insure victory this year. Recipients include Lewis, Governor Mark White \(to the tune and Wilson, all of whom support pari-mutuel betting to varying degrees. On January 26, the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association met in Austin, and to aid in their lobbying efforts they flew in former President Gerald Ford, who said the horsebreeding industry had “not been allowed to grow to its proper potential.” While the horse racers are relatively confident of victory this year, they apparently are afraid that the lottery issue could upset the horsecart. They fear that a state with such a large Southern Baptist population would reject the imposition of two “sinful” measures at once. They also fear the arguments that can be made for a lottery’s contribution to state revenues, compared to those possible from pari-mutuel gambling. According to a report from state Comptroller Bob Bullock’s office, pari-mutuel gambling supplies states with both gambling and lottery operations with less than one-third the revenue that state lotteries bring in. 6 ORSE RACING and the lottery are two different questions,” says Sen. Uribe. “Pari-mutuel betting is an industry, but it doesn’t bring the significant revenue to a state [that a lottery brings]. Pari-mutuel betting is a way of diversifying the economy of the state. A lottery is a significant way to address the deficit question.” Based on $29.40 per capita lottery revenues for lottery states, Uribe estimates that Texas could receive $418.3 million in net revenues based on 1980 population figures. \(It should be noted that no lottery states are in the Bible Belt, where the per net only 5 percent of the pari-mutuel money as compared to a 40 percent minimum from a state lottery. Of the 17 states and the District of Columbia in which lotteries operated, the governments received $2.1 billion of the $5 billion gambled in 1983. In the past year, four more states have voted to institute lotteries. It is Uribe’s contention that a lottery is a fairly benign form of gambling. He cites studies showing that “the poor participate in disproportionately lower numbers than those of middle income. Those who play have a little bit of discretionary income, and they consider this a form of entertainment. There is not even an anecdotal case of a person who blew his weekly salary on the lottery.” Uribe also contends that the four-second interval that transpires between the exchange of money in purchasing a lottery ticket and the recording of the exchange prevents organized crime from insinuating itself into the transaction. His bill requires tight security checks on all people involved in the operation of a lottery. According to Uribe, “legal gambling drives illegal competition out of business.” He also cites studies showing “the lottery is too passive a game to generate the euphoria that compulsive gamblers need. Dr. Robert Custer, administrator for mental health for the Veterans Administration in Washington, says most compulsive gamblers are only gratified by horse racing, casino games, and card games. Lottery playing is too slow.” In a year of fading revenues, why hasn’t the lottery generated much support? “It’s a bill in search of a lobby,” Uribe says. “Pirandello, where are you?” he adds. Evans thinks the absence of a lottery lobby is part of the problem. Says Wilson: “Some elected officials listen more to lobbyists than to constituents.” In California and Arizona, Bally Corporation, owners of casinos and makers of video games and lottery machines, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in successful efforts lobbying for state lotteries. In most lottery states, Bally holds the lottery machine contract. Another lottery machine company, G-Tech, was begun with investments from the Bass brothers of Fort Worth. While there are rumors of some activity by both these corporations in the state legislature, they have not, to date, been a visible presence around the Capitol or on campaign contribution lists. “What I envision,” says Uribe, “is that around April, when Bullock says you have a $1.8 to $2 billion deficit, the business lobby will look for alternative revenue. By that time pari CONTENTS FEATURES 1 The Lottery: Morality and Political Life Geoffrey Rips 4 SundayGodDamnClosin’Law A.R. “Babe” Schwartz 6 The Houston Backlash Bob Sablatura 8 Showdown at Texas Tech Brett Campbell and Paul Price 11 Mr. Bennett’s Humanities Pat Aufderheide 14 Private Investigations: Reading with William Bennett Geoffrey Rips 15 Sister of Compassion James C. Harrington DEPARTMENTS 16 Political Intelligence 17 Dialogue 20 Social Cause Calendar Books and the Culture: 18 The Other Texas Joe R. Feagin 19 Strangers in Strange Lands Elise Nakhnikian 23 Afterword: Dave Denison Cover Art by Mark Antonuccio THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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