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The stalking horse

Peggy Fikac brings up a familiar point about expanded gambling.

[Rob Kohler, a Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission consultant working against gambling expansion] suspects the gambling talk is paving the way for a new push to lease the state lottery to private interests, who would give Texas a big up-front payment in return for being allowed to run the games. Private interests might promise a bigger payment if allowed to expand gaming through such means as online ticket sales, he said.

GOP Gov. Rick Perry in 2007 suggested the state could reap more than $14 billion by leasing the lottery. At the time, Perry wanted to use the money to create education and health-related trust funds. This time, Kohler said, a private consortium could appear to “ride in on a white horse” with badly needed funds.

“I think that’s their play,” said Kohler — who thinks it’s a bad play. “It would be nothing short of the state taking a payday loan.”

That’s the first time I’ve seen this connection made in this context, but it’s not the first time it’s been made. When Perry first proposed privatizing the Lottery, I speculated that might lead to expanded gambling. I wasn’t the only one to think along those lines. Now it seems like we’ve come full circle. I guess no bad idea is ever truly dead when Rick Perry is involved.

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