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P.A. Chamber of Commerce supports letting Texans decide on casin - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

P.A. Chamber of Commerce supports letting Texans decide on casinos

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The sound of slot machines in Texas would be music to the ears of those behind the "Let Texans Decide" campaign. The group's web site claims Texans spend $2.5 billion every year at casinos in neighboring states like Oklahoma and Louisiana. It wants to give Texas voters a chance to decide for themselves whether they want gambling in the Lone Star State, and the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce agrees.

"Go to a parking lot of the casinos and read the license plates... If we're gonna go spend $1.5 billion some place, why not spend it inside the borders of the state of Texas?" said Bill McCoy, president of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.

McCoy says a plan is already in the works to bring a casino to Pleasure Island if the proposal were to ever pass. But not everyone agrees casinos in Texas are a good idea. Bobby Fillyaw, Director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation, says people who drive through Orange to the casinos in Louisiana help boost the city's economy.

"It may just be every once in a while they stop into one of our restaurants... But it's a pipeline of money that's going through here that won't be going through here if it goes to the state of Texas," said Fillyaw.

But McCoy thinks it can only be a good thing.

"Anytime you can add that many facilities that hire 3- to 400 people, and contribute to the community, it's an economic tool," he said.

And all he asks is that lawmakers let Texans decide.

State Senator Rodney Ellis has proposed a joint resolution that would establish a "Texas Gaming Commission" and allow casino and slot gaming in the state.

The "Let Texans Decide" initiative is pushing for the resolution, and if it passes at the capitol, Texas voters would decide if gambling becomes a reality.

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