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A back door to more gambling?

Here’s a thought: Could the effort to sell off the Lottery be a back door to expanded gambling?

The Texas Lottery might look quite different under a private operator if the state opens the door to online games, casino-style Keno and video slot machines as suggested by financial firms that have consulted with Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

Documents prepared by three firms seeking to manage the deal for the state say the sale price would range from $14 billion to $28 billion, depending on the buyers’ ability to increase profits by expanding gaming in Texas.

That may mean legalizing video slots or letting people buy tickets at home on their digital televisions, according to the documents reviewed by the Associated Press.


Perry spokesman Robert Black said the governor is not advocating the expansion of gambling and simply wants the state to get “the most bang for our buck.”

“This is not unlike trying to sell your house,” he said.

The deal and some new types of games would have to go through the Legislature, which has been reluctant to allow new gaming in recent years.

At first, Black said Friday that introducing some new games that aren’t currently legal, such as Keno and video slots, would require a constitutional amendment, and the lottery sale most likely would, too. He said the governor’s office thinks the best approach would be through a constitutional amendment.

But later he said “it’s unclear” and that an attorney general’s opinion may be needed to decide whether those questions would have to go before voters.

I can see it coming: Perry will make this happen by executive order. (Why not? That’s worked so well for him so far.) And then he’ll announce his intent to sell off the Alamo. Hey, with everything else that’s happened, are you really willing to say anything is impossible? Eye on Williamson has more.

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