At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the city’s planning commission talked about the possibility of changing the city’s restrictions on building height in anticipation of casino gambling someday returning to Texas.
“I don’t think it’s if it happens — it’s when it happens,” commissioner Terry Conrad said. “Galveston needs to be proactive, not reactive, to this opportunity and how we’re going to make the most of it.”
Other members were cautious about anticipating something that hasn’t happened yet.
“I guarantee that if gambling comes, we’ll change every rule on the seawall,” said Dominic Sasser. “The decision we’re making now is what’s best for Galveston over the next 10 or 15 years, not for gambling 15 or 20 years from now.”
In a happy coincidence, the Texas Tribune reported on the current efforts to legalize gambling in Texas. While there doesn’t appear to be any changes on the horizon, the story does give some insight about where the gaming effort stands today.
The Tribune reports there is a possible coalition of gambling proponents forming between groups that had previously worked against each other, and points to one piece of gaming legislation that has already been filed.
Audrey White writes:
One measure that is getting early attention from various gaming interests is Senate Joint Resolution 6, filed by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston. That proposes a constitutional amendment for voters, who would decide whether to allow the operation of casino games and slot machines in the state and whether to have a state video lottery system at horse racing tracks and other selected sites.
Similar efforts to legalize gambling in the state have failed, and White writes that insiders doubt any changes are imminent.
It’s worth keeping an eye on, because if the city’s planners are to be believed, the future of development in Galveston is tied, at least in part, to the future of gambling in Texas.