Ball and dice bill going to Senate floor

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A bill that would bring ball and dice games to Oklahoma casinos has one more hurdle at the Senate before reaching the Governor's desk, after the House passed the bill earlier last week.

"I get away from everything, I love it." Thackerville resident Gerri Shurbet said.

Shurbet lives in the shadow of WinStar World Casino and Resort, and visits more often than she'd care to admit.

"I try to go once a week, and then I try to stay away a week." Shurbet said.

And with teachers still striking at the state capitol, Shurbet thinks bringing ball and dice gaming to Oklahoma casinos is a good idea. If passed, the expanded gaming is estimated to bring $21 million to the state's Education Reform Fund this year.

"I think its alright. I think if it'll help education, I'm for it all the way." Shurbet said.

It will be debated and voted on in the Senate Friday, after passing in the House 72-to-27 earlier last week. Both state representatives Tommy Hardin and Pat Ownbey voted no.

"We've done an awful lot this year- a half a billion dollars this year in education," Ownbey said. "I think that's a good first step, and I think step two should be coming next year. I don't think we need to be doing a lot more this year."

While not a fan of gambling, Ownbey says waiting on the bill now could mean more money for the state later, when agreements with the tribal nations expire in 2020.

"My concern is if we do this now, we could be hurting our state in just a few years when he have the room to negotiate." Ownbey said.

Not all Thackerville residents are for the bill either.

"We don't need Las Vegas in Thackerville, because people go to Las Vegas for that," Resident Tricia Morgan said. "We don't need it here in Thackerville."

While Morgan agrees Oklahoma needs education funding, she says this isn't the way.

"They can do that in other forms that are constructive things for our communities, rather than bring in more things we don't need that will bring bad businesses into our communities." Morgan said. "We're just trying to keep our community our community."

If the bill passes in the Senate Friday, its next stop will be the governor's desk.



 
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