- Sheldon Adelson reportedly wants to expand casino empire to Texas
- Many in Texas feel casinos would be beneficial & bring valuable revenue
Living in Texas? You might be in luck — while previous efforts to impose new Texas casino legislation have failed, recent lobbying efforts suggest upcoming January legislation could have ‘legs’ to take effect.
Sheldon Adelson, operator of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, responsible for developing resorts, retail, and casino locations, recently hired some of the most powerful lobbyists in the state before the next legislative session, in an effort to bring casino gambling to the state. Members include former Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and former high-ranking staffers of the Bush administration to lobby to bring sports betting and casinos to the state.
Adelson has hinted that he intends to sell his Las Vegas properties, which include the Venetian and Palazzo resorts. The Sands Corporation also makes a good portion of their money from sales overseas, and has been hit hard since Macau’s closure due to COVID-19, which means Adelson could very well look for new ways to profit from Texans who are already traveling out-of-state to gamble.
Will online gaming be on the table?
It’s unclear if the group of powerbrokers will include online gambling in their efforts to introduce Texan casinos, but Adelson himself has been a strong proponent against online gambling legalization before. In fact, he’s currently being investigated by New Jersey officially for being involved in the Justice Department’s 2019 reinterpretation of the Federal Wire Act of 1961, which would limit operation of online casinos.
If the pandemic continues, online casinos will likely become more popular, which makes it hard to believe online gaming would be off-the-table completely.
Casino could bring revenue to the state
New casinos could bring much-needed revenue to the state, as economies everywhere face uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though unsuccessful in the past, many people support opening casinos and sports books, like State Representative Joe Deshotel, who has proposed a constitutional amendment to allow gambling in some coastal Texan areas.
In an interview with KXAN, Deshotel says, “Now may be the best opportunity that casino gambling has had in quite a while …Keep Texas money in Texas.”
Currently, each state that neighbors Texas has a casino or other gaming venue near the border, which Deshotel claims it money that otherwise, could be kept within state lines. Other benefits of casino gambling are being able to reduce windstorm insurance costs in coastal areas, provide damage assistance during floods, and generally create employment and grow tourism.