As you travel north on one of the two interstate highways, I-75 and I-35, from Texas to Oklahoma, across the Red River, you are greeted with a sign welcoming you to Oklahoma.
In case your kids were in the back seat fighting and you were distracted, there is another sign that you have left Texas and are now in Oklahoma; Casinos. Big Casinos.
There is no logical reason for the casinos to appear immediately to the north of the Red River. The Red River is not a sport fishing destination. There is nothing about the clay that turns the river red that makes it more likely that you’ll hit a jack pot. The two largest cities in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, are over 100 miles away. Even a kid from Texas could figure out that the reason for the location of the casinos was to attract Texans to come to spend their money in Oklahoma, gambling.
I grew up in Tulsa, and I never heard of anyone going to vacation on the Red River.
Americans love to gamble. In 1995, almost 100 million Americans legally wagered $400 billion and lost $39 billion doing it. Americans spent more on legal games of chance than on films, books, amusement attractions and recorded music, combined. Most of this action took place in major, well-known casinos in Nevada and New Jersey, but Oklahoma is one of the states that allows gambling in Las-Vegas style casinos. Gambling is allowed in Oklahoma, as long as the casino is located on land designated as an Indian reservation. In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which recognized the right of Indian tribes in the United States to establish gambling and gaming facilities on their reservations as long as the states in which they are located have some form of legalized gambling.
Oklahoma has realized a substantial financial benefit from their casinos. In March of this year it was reported that casinos in Oklahoma were thriving, with more than $3.1 Billion Dollars in gambling revenue in 2009. This amounted to an increase of over $200 Million from the previous year. Half of Oklahoms’a entire state budget is attributed to revenue from gambling.
So the revenue and jobs created as a result of Texans gambling in Oklahoma is good for Oklahoma, but bad for Texas. Substantial jobs and revenue are being drained from Texas to support Oklahoma. From a national perspective this situation might be of little concern to people living in states other than Texas or Oklahoma. The reason it MUST be a national concern is the fact the Rick Perry is running for President.
As the Governor of Texas, he is charged with protecting the interest of Texas. He has traded the interest of Texas for his own personal political success. His political success is directly related to money donated to his campaign. The Chickasaw Nation , who owns the casinos on the border of Texas and Oklahoma,donated $100,000 to the re-election campaign of Rick Perry on October 25, 2010, immediately before his re-election on Nov. 4, 2010.
In case you were thinking that Rick Perry might have had some religious opposition to gambling, think again. It appears that Rick Perry’s position on gambling in Texas is directly related to donations to his campaign and unrelated to any moral position on gambling. He supported gambling before he was against it. Given the fact that Texas has five racetracks where betting is permitted, and the lottery which is available in every 7-11 store, it is clear that Perry isn’t opposed to the concept of gambling. What he opposes is any competition with his campaign contributors from the casinos in Oklahoma.
With the budget disaster in Texas even half of the $3.1 Billion dollars in revenue generated for the state of Oklahoma would make a substantial dent in the deficit facing Texas. Consider the possibility that Rick Perry were to be considering similar issues as President of the United States. Now that foreign corporations are allowed to make campaign donations to U.S. politicians, the obvious implication is that Rick Perry may be interested in protecting his donors, regardless of the country from which they come. Even if the interest of the United States is compromised by a foreign campaign donor, it seems likely that Perry would prioritize his re-election over the best interest of the United States. Just as he was willing to compromise the best interest of Texas in favor of an Oklahoma supporter, it is likely that Rick Perry would be willing to compromise the best interest of the country if it was contrary to one of his foreign campaign donors. PACs donations in the U.S. are already connected to foreign-based corporations to the tune of $60 Million dollars, including $12 million since the start of 2009.. Imagine what they would be if Rick Perry would be involved.
Make no mistake. The issue is not about gambling. We have gambling in Texas. Texans are betting on the horses and buying lottery tickets. Texans are traveling to Oklahoma and Louisiana in search of slots and crap tables. The issue is who benefits from the revenue generated by the gambling of Texas residents. It seems Rick Perry is the primary beneficiary.
Tomorrow’s post will prove my point that Rick Perry is influenced by foreign donors, not only those campaign contributors from states other than Texas.