Joint Statement on Historical Horse Racing Terminal
As Republican nominees for the Texas Senate, we are pleased with the unified stance the current Republican caucus has taken in opposing the Racing Commission’s proposed rule on historical racing. Similar in nature to slot machines, historical racing would effectively authorize Las Vegas-style gaming in Texas. We, the undersigned, write today to add our voices to the those concerned with the proposed rule, which would greatly expand gambling in Texas without legislative approval.
Aside from certain narrowly defined exceptions, gambling in Texas is illegal. Furthermore, over the past decade the Legislature has considered, and ultimately rejected, every bill brought before it that sought to expand gambling in Texas.
The Texas Legislature is the proper arena in which to make such changes to public policy, not via an agency rule that stands in contradiction to the law of our state. Instituting such a rule would effectively usurp the authority of the Legislature and deprive the public from robust debate and open discussion on the issue.
While thoughtful legislators on all sides of the political spectrum can debate if or how historical racing should be allowed in Texas, attempting to do so behind closed doors without legislative approval violates our state’s system of checks and balances. In order for a bill to become law it must withstand public scrutiny and expert testimony. The attempt of an agency to make law void of the legislative process opens the door to a host of unintended consequences and poor policy decisions.
We strongly support Texas’ constitutional process. As such, any expansion of gambling in Texas requires legislation that goes through the full legislative process. For this and other reasons, we entreat the Racing Commission to withdraw their proposed rule which most clearly breaks existing law.