83 Percent of Texas Voters Want to Decide for Themselves on VLTs

Eighty-three percent of Texas voters want the right to decide for themselves if Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) should be placed at horse and greyhound race tracks in the state, a new statewide public opinion survey shows. The survey of 600 registered voters was conducted May 10-11 by Baselice & Associates, Inc.

“This survey convincingly demonstrates that an overwhelming majority of Texans support Video Lottery Terminals at horse and dog race tracks as a way to generate funds for public schools and as a way to offset property taxes,” said Tommy Azopardi, a spokesman for the council and executive director of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership. “Clearly, the people of Texas support the right to choose whether to allow VLTs at racetracks and, when given the choice, would approve of VLTs.”

According to the poll, 62 percent of respondents support VLTs at horse and dog tracks. That support jumps significantly when revenue from the gaming machines is dedicated to public schools (73 percent) or is used to reduce property taxes (71 percent).

When asked to select from six different methods of funding public schools in exchange for reduced property taxes, allowing VLTs was the second most popular method – selected by 24 percent of voters. The other five options in descending order were: increasing cigarette taxes (32 percent), increasing the state sales tax (11 percent), increasing business taxes (7 percent), creating a state income tax (5 percent), and expanding the state sales tax to food and beverages (5 percent). The remaining respondents volunteered the following: other/combination (5 percent), none (5 percent), and unsure (6 percent).

Seventy-three percent of respondents also said they would re-elect their legislator if he or she voted to allow Texas voters to consider VLTs on a statewide constitutional amendment election ballot in November.

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents also agreed that Texas should be capturing gaming dollars that Texans are already spending out of state. Texans are spending more than $1 billion every year at Louisiana border casinos alone.

“Texans are a strong-minded people, and this survey shows they want a say in how this issue is decided,” Azopardi said. “Given this strong support, we urge Texas legislators to give voters that right.”

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.

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