State Capitol News
1:58 pm
Thu May 21, 2009

Prescott lawmaker wants to expand gambling

Phoenix, AZ – A top Republican lawmaker wants to give people more options on
where to gamble.

Right now casino-style gaming is limited to reservations. The
plan by House Majority Whip Andy Tobin would allow dog and horse
tracks to have the same kind of gambling -- slots, blackjack and
poker. And if a new track opened up, it, too, could have a casino
on site. Tobin acknowledged that Arizonans voted seven years ago
to keep gambling confined to reservations. And they rejected
another proposal to let race tracks have slot machines. But Tobin
said that doesn't end the debate.

(Maybe the public doesn't have all the information. Maybe they'd
like to know that a 45 percent tax rate just to expand gaming to
race tracks would be something they'd like to know. I think the
voters, before you start firing more teachers or you start laying
off more state employees or you start raising taxes on other
people, maybe they would like to know that this option exists.)

Tobin predicted that the plan eventually could bring in more than
$400 million a year. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray said
he doesn't see any financial windfall to the state from expanded
legal gaming.

(When people are spending their own monies, and they run out of
those monies, they come to the state, in other words, the
taxpayer, for their services, whether it's AHCCCS or welfare or
those kinds of things.)