Shades of Grey: March 6, 2015 Mongrel Gaming Interests Debate Pedigree Purities The Bloodlines of Casino and Racetrack Industries Are Both Besmirched by Out-of-State Special Interests T he casino and racetrack industries have a bitter history. Both sides want the state to legalize slot machines. But each side argues that it alone deserves to monopolize this lucrative gambling expansion. This old feud recently took a turn for the worst as a past president of the Texas Thoroughbred Association invoked nativist-purity claims in a dispute involving Native Americans, racehorses, greyhounds and blue-blood casino owners. publican Caucus letter last summer opposing historical racing consoles. This is an important story because lawmakers let lobbyists ghostwrite too many bills. But veterinarian David Stephens, who has headed a thoroughbred horse trade group, couldn’t leave it at that. The Tribune reported that Stephens was outraged that Locke Lord lobbyist Robert Miller apparently acted as a ghostwriter for “out-of-state casinos” controlled by the “deep pockets” of the Houston-based Fertitta clan (which operates casinos in other states). Texas lawmakers long have rebuffed calls for slot machines. Spurning 15 GOP senators, the Texas Racing Commission ruled last year that There are reasons to believe that Stephens—like tracks could introduce “historical racing” conthe thoroughbred Danish queen of yore—doth soles. These slots-like machines let gamblers bet protest too much. First, the racing industry’s on videos of past races. A subsequent court rul2014 political expenditures were several times ing found that Racing Commissioners lack aularger than the combined spending of Indian thority for such a gambling tribes and other casino in2014 Election Cycle expansion. terests. Second, deep-pocket Gambling Contributions “out-of-state special interAmount % Contributor The Texas Tribune recentests” control not just casi$7,096,955 74% Racetrack Interests ly reported that a casino nos but many Texas race$1,430,000 15% Indian Tribes lobbyist helped Senator tracks, as well. $1,071,358 11% Casino Interests Joan Huffman draft a Re$9,598,313 100% TOTAL Top Racing Interests 2014 Cycle Amount Racing Tie(s) Contributor $1,738,000 Robert C McNair Ret $1,532,500 Peter & Julianna Holt Ret $520,031 Gerald J Ford TB $286,730 Bobby D & Leona Cox TB/QH $274,556 Clifton & Cathy Thomas LD $273,750 ‘Red’ & Charline McCombs Ret $265,518 George ‘Tim’ & Karen Hixon Ret $251,000 Texas Events PAC QH $245,747 MAXXAM Inc. PAC Max $237,413 Gregory LaMantia LaMant $118,065 Michael T Gallagher LD $110,750 Tom Durant TB/QH $99,750 Robert & Gordon Johnson GG $98,000 Gallagher Law Firm LD $96,500 William/Val LaMantia Peisen LaMant $89,175 Stephen & Linda LaMantia LaMant $85,000 Joe V LaMantia Jr LaMant $69,925 Charles W Graham LD/GG/TS $60,200 Scott & Eleanor Petty Ret $60,000 Phil D Adams LD/GG/TS $55,825 Anthony/Jennifer LaMantia LaMant $54,560 Joe V LaMantia III LaMant $50,750 Helen Kleberg Groves Ret $39,801 Charles E Cheever Ret $38,894 Mikal C Watts GCR $24,951 Lukin T Gilliland Ret $19,250 Melissa Jones QH $19,050 John W Elder TB $17,000 Nicholas T Serafy LaMant $17,000 Nat’l Cutting Horse Assn. CH $15,000 Curtis C Gunn Ret $12,000 Samantha LaMantia LaMant $10,875 Joe R & Jocelyn Straus Jr. GG/LD/Ret Note: Donors above supplied 97 percent of all racing money. Key Racing Interest Casino magnate Tilman Fertitta CH GCR LaMan GG LD QH Max Ret TB TS Cutting Horses Gulf Coast Racing LaMantia tracks* Gulf Greyhounds Longhorn Downs Quarter Horses Maxxam tracks** Retama Park Thoroughbreds Valle de Tesoros *Gulf Coast, Laredo Downs, Retama and Tesoros. ** Laredo, Sam Houston and Valley Race Parks. Racing interests spent $7 million on Texas’ 2014 elections, or almost three times the $2.5 million spent by Indian tribes and other casino interests. Just two of Retama Park’s investors, Robert McNair and Peter Holt, invested $3.3 million in Texas’ elections. That alone exceeds the combined spending of all tribal and casino interests. Consider how much more Stephens might protest if a scion of Tilman Fertitta’s casino clan was Texas House Speaker. Instead, that job falls to Joe Straus, whose father pioneered parimutuel betting in Texas and has longstanding interests in Retama and other Texas tracks. Clearly, the racing industry has the clout to ghostwrite bills authorizing racetrack slot machines. But it lacks the votes to pass those bills— much less the requisite constitutional amendment. That’s why the industry tried to move slots through a back door—one held by a lame-duck governor’s Racing Commissioners. Stephens’s denunciations of “out-of-state special interests” are another instance of the racing pot calling casino kettles black. Out-of-state gambling corporations own major shares of many Texas racetrack franchises. A joint venture of Houston’s Maxxam, Inc. and Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming owns the Laredo, Sam Houston and Valley Race Parks. Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment owns a controlling share of Retama. And a Chickasaw Nation company owns 49 percent of Lone Star Park. Out-of-state companies own major stakes in many Texas horseracing venues. And those companies all own out-of-state casinos—the very rogues that Stephens denounced. Apparently, “We have found the enemy and he is us.” Without even touching on how Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel used expensive racehorses to launder money in Texas and neighboring states, it’s clear that true, nativist thoroughbreds are hard to find in the greedy fight between casino and racing interests. Top Racing Recipients 2014 Cycle Amount $1,757,761 $586,250 $490,503 $403,600 $317,100 $291,531 $252,000 $168,750 $164,600 $140,000 $118,594 $102,340 $100,000 $99,188 $74,000 $68,700 $52,560 $52,000 $48,750 $46,752 $44,800 $43,565 $41,000 $40,350 $39,000 $36,750 $35,000 $33,500 $33,250 $30,000 $28,500 $28,500 $26,000 $26,000 $25,000 $22,850 $21,500 $19,500 $18,954 $18,000 $18,000 Recipient Greg Abbott Texans for Lawsuit Reform David Dewhurst *Dan Patrick Joe Straus Dan Branch Texans For Education Reform Glenn Hegar Associated Republicans of TX Republican Party of TX *John Carona TX Trial Lawyers Assn. Rick Perry Wholesale Beer Distributors George P. Bush *Donna Campbell Jerry Patterson Trey Martinez Fischer Ken Paxton Wendy Davis Barry Smitherman Senfronia Thompson Whitmire, John House Democratic Camp. Com. Todd Hunter Todd Staples TX Good Roads, Transpo. Assn. Sylvia Garcia Mike Novak Juan 'Chuy' Hinojosa Hispanic Republicans of TX TX House Leadership Fund Kirk Watson John 'Jake' Ellzey Jobs for TX PAC Leticia Van de Putte Jeff Boyd Royce West Rico Reyes Konni Burton Paul Bettencourt Favorite Racing Contributor(s) Peter Holt Robert McNair Peter Holt Peter Holt Peter Holt Gerald J. Ford Robert McNair Bobby Cox Robert McNair Robert McNair Gerald J. Ford Michael Gallagher Peter Holt Gregory LaMantia George ‘Tim’ Hixon Peter Holt Gregory LaMantia Gallagher Law Firm BJ ‘Red’ McCombs Lukin Guillard Peter Holt Michael Gallagher Gallagher Law Firm Joe LaMantia Jr. Gallagher Law Firm Scott Petty Peter Holt Gregory LaMantia Maxxam, Inc. PAC William & Val Peisen Robert McNair Robert McNair Gregory LaMantia Peter Holt Robert McNair Melissa Jones BJ ‘Red’ McCombs Gerald J. Ford Mikal Watts Bobby Cox/Peter Holt/Johnson Bros. Maxxam, Inc. PAC Note: Recipients above collected 84 percent of all racing money. *Signed protest letter to Racing Commission. Top Casino Contributors 2014 Cycle Amount $759,616 $93,250 $87,666 $50,000 $50,000 $8,377 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 Contributor Tilman & Paige Fertitta (Landry’s) Jack E Pratt (Pratt Development) Landry's Restaurants (Fertittas) Frank & Jill Fertitta (Station Casinos) Lorenzo & Teresa Fertitta (Station Casinos) Steve Greenberg (Landry’s) Stephen Cavallaro (Fertitta Entertain.) Marc Falcone (Fertitta Entertain.) Richard & Janis Haskins (Station Casinos) Scott & Mary Alice Nielson (Station Casinos) Location Houston Dallas Houston Las Vegas Las Vegas Galveston Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas Top Casino Recipients Amount 2014 Cycle $376,000 $261,116 $52,500 $50,000 $36,188 $35,000 $35,000 $40,100 $25,000 $23,576 $11,000 $11,000 $7,000 $6,700 $5,491 $5,000 $5,000 $4,500 $4,500 $3,579 $3,500 $3,500 $2,790 $2,750 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 Recipient Greg Abbott *Dan Patrick Glenn Hegar Joe Straus Ken Paxton *John Carona John Whitmire Wendy Davis *Joan Huffman Carol Alvarado *Larry Taylor *Kelly Hancock Harvey Hilderbran George P. Bush Sylvia R. Garcia Paul Bettencourt Jerry Patterson *Jane Nelson Jason Villalba Rodney Ellis *Charles Schwertner *Robert Lee Nichols Rick Perry TX Travel Industry Assn. PAC Trey Martinez Fischer Van Taylor *Craig Estes Konni L. Burton *Brian D. Birdwell *Donna Campbell *Troy Fraser *Signed protest letter to Racing Commission. Favorite Casino Interest(s) Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta/Landry’s Tilman Fertitta Jack Pratt Tilman Fertitta Jack Pratt Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Landry’s Landry’s Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Landry’s Tilman Fertitta Jack Pratt Jack Pratt Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Landry’s Tilman Fertitta S. Greenberg (Landry’s) Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tilman Fertitta Tribal Contributions Amount 2014 Cycle $670,000 $450,000 $285,500 $24,500 $1,430,000 Contributor Chickasaw Nation Kickapoo Choctaw Nation Alabama-Coushatta TOTAL Location Ada, OK Eagle Pass, TX Durant, OK Livingston, TX Top Tribal Recipients Amount 2014 Cycle $205,000 $172,500 $55,000 $55,000 $35,000 $30,000 $25,000 $25,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 $18,500 $15,500 $15,000 $15,000 $15,000 $14,000 $12,500 $12,000 $11,500 $11,000 $10,500 $10,500 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 Recipient Greg Abbott *Dan Patrick Ken Paxton Republican Party of TX Leticia Van de Putte Glenn Hegar *Joan Huffman Carlos Uresti *John Carona *Kelly Hancock Van Taylor TX Repub. Legislative Caucus TX Leg. Black Caucus John Whitmire Bob Deuell *Jane Nelson *Kel Seliger Trey Martinez Fischer Roberto Alonzo Richard Wayne Smith Jodie Laubenberg Mex. Am. Leg. Caucus Abel Herrero Senfronia Thompson Rafael Anchia Helen Giddings Linda Harper-Brown House Dem. Campaign Com. Don Huffines John Otto Diane Patrick Todd Staples *Larry Taylor TX House Leadership Fund Favorite Tribe(s) Chick Kick Kick Choc Kick Chick/Choc/Kick Chick/Kick Kick Chick Chick/Choc Chick/Kick Choc Choc Chick Chick Kick Chick Chick Chick Chick Chick Coush Chick Chick Chick Chick Chick Chick Choc/Kick Chick/Choc Chick/Choc Choc Choc/Kick Choc Note: Above recipients accounted for 66 percent of all tribal money. *Signed protest letter to Racing Commission.
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