Montford said there's a reason a casino bill hasn't passed before, despite bills being filed nearly every session for decades.
"The out-of-state interests have put so much money in Texas politics that they have been able to stop it," he said. "They will fight it. They don't want anything to change in Texas because the people of Texas are funding a whole lot in Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico.
"My hat's off to them," he said. "They are outsmarting us. And they will put a whole bunch of money into this to make sure nothing changes."
Kohler has been meeting with newly elected members of the Legislature recently, hoping to talk to them about what he sees as perils of expanding gambling in Texas.
Supporters used the same arguments -- generally, a large economic windfall for Texas -- to persuade legislators to approve the Texas lottery and pari-mutuel wagering. But those opportunities haven't been enough for gambling supporters, he said, and they want more.
"This is not about economic development," Kohler said. "It's sold as that, but it's not. We've been tricked before with pari-mutuel wagering and the lottery."
Kohler said that casinos in Texas simply won't generate the taxes projected by supporters and that the majority of money will come from people living near a casino. And if gambling is expanded in Texas, he said, it will quickly grow because of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
But he said he doesn't expect the proposal to gain any traction.
"At the end of the day, every two years, we ... see special-interest folks trying to make this an issue," he said. "There's not a will there -- not in the House and not in the Senate."
Others oppose the move as well.
Amid calls for new state revenue, "some big spenders just happen to have a ready-made solution, a magic moneymaking elixir: expanded gambling. And some conservatives are foolishly lapping it up," Michael Quinn Sullivan, president and CEO of Empower Texans, an Austin-based conservative group, said last year. "Let's be clear: Texans are not under-taxed; our problem is that tax dollars are often poorly spent.
"The emphasis in 2013 must rest on fixing past budget gimmicks, weeding out inefficient and ineffective programs, and examining how services are provided," he said. "Today, Texans are being sold on the expansion of gambling as a way to bring new revenues into state coffers. Don't be fooled."
The Republican Party of Texas weighed in on the issue last year, including a plank in its platform that objects to any new gambling in the state.
"We oppose the expansion of legalized gambling and encourage the repeal of the Texas State lottery," the platform states. "We oppose dedicating any government revenue from gambling to create or expand any government program."
As written, Ellis' bill calls for profits above and beyond what it would take to operate a new Texas Gaming Commission to help lower property taxes.
That commission would oversee issuing no more than eight licenses for slot machines to horse and greyhound racetracks, no more than six licenses for casinos in urban areas and no more than two licenses for casinos on islands in the Gulf. The commission could also let Indian tribes recognized by the U.S. government operate slot machines or casino gambling on their land in Texas.
Texas has 13 racetracks. The only one in the Metroplex is Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie.
The others stretch from Amarillo to Fredericksburg to Houston, Corpus Christi and locations in the Valley. Also, the state has three federally recognized Indian tribes: the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas in Livingston; the Tigua Indians, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, in El Paso; and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in Eagle Pass, according to Let Texans Decide.
"I want gaming like they have in Las Vegas where they have the pretty people come in and spend their money," Ellis has said.
"I want those folks who can afford the high-dollar nipping and tucking and spend millions of dollars on clothes and hotel rooms.