|State Sen. Ken Armbrister Files Video
Senate Bill 1244 Provides New Revenue Stream for State, Pari-Mutuel Venues
Victoria state Sen. Ken Armbrister
has filed Senate Bill 1244 to allow the operation of video lottery terminals
at Texas’ ten licensed horse and dog racetracks. The games would
be operated under the supervision of the Texas Lottery Commission and
the Texas Racing Commission.
It is estimated that the operation of the terminals could produce several
hundred million dollars annually for the state treasury and move horsemen’s
purses at Texas racetracks in line with those of Kentucky and Florida.
If approved by the Legislature and signed into law, the bill will take
effect September 1, 2003.
“We are extremely excited about the prospects for the Texas Racing
Industry and greatly appreciate Sen. Armbrister for his efforts to carry
this important legislation,” said Texas Horsemen’s Partnership
Chairman John Roark. He continued, “The horsemen in Texas are fortunate
to have someone like Sen. Armbrister who has historically understood the
needs of our industry and successfully represented us in the Texas Senate.”
“The Texas Association Business board of directors has endorsed
video lottery terminals and other measures as a way to raise money for
the state without increasing taxes,” said Texas Association of Business
President and CEO Bill Hammond, who has launched a statewide no-new-taxes
“In addition to being the fastest way to raise the most money for
the state, the increased revenue generated by video lottery terminals
will help Texas’ agriculture sector and racing industry. We support
passage of SB 1244,” Hammond said.
In addition to TAB and the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, the video
lottery initiative is supported by the Texas Racing Agri-industry Council
(TRAC), which is comprised of almost every organization involved in the
Texas pari-mutuel industry.
The video lottery initiative is estimated to create a significant number
of new jobs, keep money in Texas that is now going to out-of-state gaming
facilities, and increase horse and greyhound purses. SB 1244 will confine
the terminals to the ten currently licensed racetracks, and it could help
reduce untaxed, illegal gaming.
A 2001 study showed pari-mutuel racing is an important part of the Texas
Agri-industry economy, generating $6 billion in spending annually, supporting
52,000 permanent jobs, and providing $1.1 billion in personal income.
“Our organization has developed a grass roots campaign to engage
our membership in support of this legislation,” stated Tommy J.
Azopardi, executive director of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership.
In the next couple of weeks, the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership will
begin contacting licensed owners and trainers in its membership and ask
them to write or call their legislators.”