One of the things which many of the independent studies on gambling seem to agree on is that the more privatized gambling is and the larger scale and less regulated it is, the more it benefits local and state economies. Very limited gambling initiatives like just allowing parimutuel wagering at racetracks or just allowing slot machines at limited locations are much less likely to be economically successful and more likely to be crushed by regulation and expensive overhead. The lesson from these studies seems to be that if you want gambling to succeed and produce real benefits you need to go into it in a very big way. It needs to become a self-sustaining industry with real potential to attract an influx of tourists on a large scale.
Ultimately, whether you believe the emotional arguments of opponents, or the propaganda of out of state gambling interests, or the data of the competing studies, or the stories of successes from other states, one fact remains very clear. With so many different opinions and so many conflicting interests, the rational response is to let the people of Texas decide. They are the ones who go to neighboring states to gamble now. They are the ones who will pay the costs and reap the benefits of legalized gambling if it comes to our state. They deserve a chance to vote on the issue and advocates on both sides deserve a chance to educate them and win their support. Obstructionist legislators bought off by special interests should step aside and let the issue be put on the ballot.