Galveston Wants a Casino to Restore the Historic Downtown
To help restore the town after the recent devastation caused by hurricane Ike, local merchants have petitioned the mayor and city council of Galveston to legalize gambling and perhaps even build a casino. City planners agree that casinos may be just the remedy required to speed up economic recovery.
The historic downtown area known as the Strand, has buildings that date back over a hundred years. Shops and businesses were flooded by the storm surge from Ike and the area is in desperate need of restoration.
Allen Flores, president of the Strand Merchants Association says that a casino could provide much needed jobs, housing, increased tax base and fund beach restoration. He further said the state of Texas has laws against gambling but allow video slots to operate in game rooms throughout the state.
Of course there are those who say that Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Landry’s Restaurants is purchasing ravaged properties cheap so that he can build a casino, he denies it emphatically. Then there is also a rumor that his San Luis Hotel on the seawall is ready to operate as a casino if Texas legalizes casinos.
Local politicians are not in favour of a casino, repeating the hackneyed argument about the protection of the youth and unproven social costs. It looks as if Galveston may have to wait a while to hear of a better idea to put the town back on its feet. Casinos as a means of funding the town’s recovery is a long shot as two-thirds of the Legislature is required to make casino gambling legal in Texas.