Supporters of slot machine at horse tracks and Indian casinos have done two things this morning: released a poll showing what they call widespread support in Texas for their issue, and introduced us to an awful, awful new word: "racinos."
"New Poll Shows Massive Statewide Support for Racinos" the headline on the release says. "Please Ignore That Last Word; We're Truly Sorry," the sub-head somehow doesn't say.
Sam Houston Race Park is among the tracks pushing hard for the slot-machine bill expected to be introduced this session. Spokeswoman Gina Rotolo has told Hair Balls that backers really think they have a chance this year, with the economic crunch pinching state revenues and the added allure of including Galveston as a way to help the island's recovery from Ike.
If this new poll is to be believed, she's right.
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The surveyr of 1,006 Texans by Baselice & Associates shows 75 percent of them "favor allowing slot machines at Texas race tracks and Indian casinos," according to the release. And, while the questions asked seem a little weighted toward getting a positive answer, that's still impressive.
And when respondents were asked to choose what their first choice would be to raise revenue for the state, slot machines garnered 60 percent, not 75.
Still, it looks like they will be a legitimate push for the issue this session, and if it involves a statewide referendum then we'll be guaranteed months of hilarious commercials from both sides. Slots will either a) be the way for noble Native Americans and Ike victims to lead better lives, or b) lead directly to meth use and selling your 13-year-old daughter into prostitution.
-- Richard Connelly