Before each legislative session, people in Galveston talk about the prospects of casino gambling in Texas.

That’s been a pattern since at least the ’90s.

Since then, the legislature has gotten more socially conservative, meaning it’s less likely to approve gambling statewide.

And, now, 20 years into this biennial discussion, there are signs that the opportunity wasn’t what it once was.

The New York Times reported on the casino business in Atlantic City, N.J.

That town of about 40,000 has 12 casinos.

Four have announced plans to sell out or shut down.

New Jersey voters approved casino gambling in 1976.

But gaming revenue is down sharply at the casinos.

There are just too many other places to gamble.

The take-home lesson was that casino revenues would make a significant source of revenue at the tourist destination.

But if casino revenues are the sole source, or even the major source, that might not be enough.

It appears that a hotel that gets a third of its revenue from gambling is probably healthy, but a hotel that gets three-quarters of its revenue from gambling is probably not.

That’s not an argument against gambling.

It’s an argument that the business model for the industry has changed since Galveston had its last real debate.

(4) comments

Steve Fouga

I wonder what Mr. Fertitta thinks about casinos in G-Town. He would have to be considered an expert, wouldn't he? On both casinos and Galveston...

Paula Flinn

I think Mr. Fertitta would love the chance to turn the Convention Center into a Casino. If he couldn't do that, he would secure a large plot of land and build one. Maybe he could put one on the end of the Pleasure Pier. He would find a place, don't worry.

All those people with Texas license plates on cars and buses parked at casinos in Louisiana wouldn't have to drive so far!

The traffic would be multiplied on I-45, Broadway, and Seawall Blvd.

George Croix

Money.
One of the little things that the patrons of a casino need.
Preferrably in excess of that needed to pay the bills at home.
Another of the casualties of a 'fundamental change' away from private sector jobs and toward dependency on 'government money'.
It's reasonable to conclude it's a factor in the casinos closing.. the business model changing.
It's unlikely that a reformation in underlying desire to gamble has occurred in a more permissive and self-absorbed society.

Carlos Ponce

"Will the Legislature take up casinos?" Due to Harry Reid's influence it is unprofitable for any state other than Nevada to initiate gambling. So why bother?

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