Texas TV survey finds 64 percent of residents want casino gaming

KXAN-TV, the NBC News affiliate in Austin, Texas, conducted a statewide survey and found that 64 percent of Texans support casino gambling in the state.

The scientific KXAN/Survey USA poll of 500 people showed that 64 percent of all respondents said they traveled to other states to gamble while living in Texas. All bordering states – Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana – have casinos.

Gaming legalization bills have been introduced over the years in the Texas Legislature and all have failed. Several bills are pending in this year’s legislature.

The report by KXAN-TV found the Lake Charles, La., could be hurt the most by Texas legalizing casinos.

Casino gambling across the Louisiana border 100 miles away is part of what lures between $2 billion and $4 billion from Texas each year, according to various estimates. The Texas Gaming Association says that spending not only takes that money from the state's economy, it also costs the state $1.5 billion a year in tax revenue.

Pinnacle Entertainment operates L’Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles and is expected to complete a second hotel-casino in the market once the company completes its acquisition of Ameristar Casinos later this year.

The Texas television station gambling survey found that political affiliation was not really a factor among supports, as Republicans, Democrats and Independents showed their support in the 60-70 percent range.

The KXAN survey showed 23 percent of Texans’ were most concerned with crime that casinos could bring. Above that, 28 percent said gambling addiction was most troubling. Concerns like other financial problems and moral or religious beliefs made up the remainder.