Sheldon Adelson, best known in the gaming industry for his many Las Vegas casinos, is pushing to expand his empire into a relatively gambling-averse but potentially lucrative state: Texas.
Adelson, also known as a Republican political megadonor, is behind a pitch to make casino gaming legal in Texas.
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According to a textreport from the Texas Tribune, a slew of lobbyists will be appealing to Texas legislators when the session starts in January. Adelson and his wife Miriam gave millions to GOP election efforts in Texas.
The top lobbyist for Adelson’s most famous property, the Las Vegas Sands, made his case this week at a conference in Texas.
“We view Texas as a worldwide destination and one of the top potential markets in the entire world,” Andy Abboud said, according to the Tribune. “Texas is considered the biggest plum still waiting to be out there in the history of hospitality and gaming.”
Recent reports indicated that Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. was exploring the sale of its Las Vegas casinos. Adelson is the CEO, chairman and majority shareholder of the Sands.
The possibility of a Texas casino — or more than one — built by Adelson’s gaming empire could have positive economic effects, Abboud said, according to the story.
“(Casinos) are job creators, they hire a lot of additional employees, they have tremendous purchasing power,” Abboud said. “But they are also tremendous generators of tax revenue.”
There’s financial interest during the coronavirus pandemic in drawing extra tax revenue, and Adelson will undoubtedly be calling in a few favors from Texas politicians whose campaigns benefitted from his contributions. But getting major commercial casinos built in Texas will still be a hard fight.
A proposed bill that would have made Texas sports betting legal went nowhere in 2019. The state has just two tribal casinos: Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel in Eagle Pass and Naskila Gaming in Livingston. Neither is convenient to any major cities — Kickapoo is on the Mexican border, about 150 miles southwest of San Antonio, and Naskila is about 90 miles northeast of Houston.
Texas also has legal social casinos, lottery, bingo and daily fantasy sports options.