Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 29 of 263
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of the race track gambling law urge its retention because
of the taxes collected. As a matter of fact, only a small part of the
revenues promised by those who originally favored its enactment has
been realized by the State. It would have been far better for Texas if
the more than twenty-one million dollars which last year passed through
the windows of pari-mutuel race tracks had been circulated instead in
the regular channels of commerce. In any event, personally and officially,
I am opposed to legalizing for revenue purposes a moral and economic
evil, destructive alike of the character and prosperity of our people.
It is axiomatic and taxation of immorality and vice is the resort of a
weak government. We simply cannot afford to bargain with a vice
which Washington said "is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity
and the father of mischief."
As to the merits of the race track gambling law, there is, of course,
room for honest differences of opinion. Some sincere advocates of retention
of the measure say that our trouble is wholly due to the thousands
of bookie shops that have sprung up all over the State. The fact remains
that these bookie shops have practically all come into being since the
passage of the race track gambling law. All admit that without gambling
the race tracks can not exist. If there were no race track gambling,
there would be no bookie shops.
It is but another form of corruption when the State approves and
feeds upon gambling within the confines of the race track; yet, at the
same time, denounces it as unlawful if carried on elsewhere. Small
wonder that some officers of the law are discouraged and others openly
refuse to enforce the general gambling laws, when such injustices are
perpetrated in the name of the sovereign State of Texas.
Again, it is said that it would be bad faith for the Legislature to
repeal this law because of investments made under same. I dare say
that, with one possible exception, the investments made in every track
in Texas have handsomely repaid their owners. In any event, the manner
in which the passage of the law was first secured, after it had been
defeated in a fair fight on the floor of the House and then being tacked
on as an amendment to the appropriation bill, thereby compelling some
members to vote for it who had theretofore voted against it, put the
race track people on notice, that, to say the least of it, they were on
trial in Texas. As a whole, the racing industry has been weighed in
the balance and found wanting.
Texas has had to pay too dear a price in manhood and womanhood,
in crime and racketeering, in business losses and failure to countenance
any longer this open gambling, this raging fever" this prairie fire of
corruption loosed upon us at a time when every demand is for reconstruction,
for restoration, for rebuilding of society upon the old foundation
stones of honesty and common decency.
In my humble judgment, if this matter were left up to a vote of the
people of this State, repeal of the race track gambling law would be
overwhelmingly approved. For the sake of the homes and children of
Texas, for the sake of legitimate business, I earnestly urge you to carry
out the will of the people and repeal this pernicious law.
JAMES V. ALLRED
Governor of Texas
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Allred, James V. Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939, book, 1939; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3899/m1/29/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .