Casino proponents make case at Texas Capitol

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Some backers today said casino gambling in Texas should be done with large resorts that attract convention-goers and tourists.

A much-anticipated House committee hearing on a host of casino gambling bills got under way today in a packed room at the Texas Capitol.

Rep. Jose Menendez of San Antonio has proposed a sweeping resort casino plan that would also allow slot machines at race tracks and on American Indian lands.

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Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson says a "destination resort" is the way to go.

Adelson showed large glossy photos of his company's properties - the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas, and a development in Macao.

Adelson predicted his company and others would be interested in vying for casino licenses in Texas.

Opponents, including the Baptist Christian Life Commission, argue that casinos suck money out of local economies and don't produce the financial benefits they promise.

Suzii Paynter with the Christian Life Commission says the casino industry is making big, untenable promises of revenue to the state.

Some of the House gambling bills are HB1724, HJR70, HB3239, HJR99, HB3235, HB4018.