Shelden Adelson Continues to Work on Texas Casino Legislation

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp

Las Vegas Sands Corp CEO Sheldon Adelson is continuing to work on pushing for legislation in Texas to legalize casino gambling.

Sheldon Adelson is known as a major opponent to online gambling. However, it is a big proponent of brick and mortar casino gaming. Recently, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp has been working to see legislation approved in Texas for casinos to be created in the state. Adelson wants to see legislators approve a measure that will allow a public vote on the matter.

Pushing for Legislation

Earlier in the week, the senior vice president of government relations for the Las Vegas Sands, Andy Abboud, confirmed that the company is in favor of legislation to allow commercial gaming in the state. A bill would need to be approved first by lawmakers and then by residents of Texas to move forward.

Previously, proposals for casino gaming were unable to gain any traction within legislature. However, with Adelson’s influence and the economy struggling, momentum is gaining in the effort. A recent conference was hosted by the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association in which Abboud stated that Texas is considered a worldwide destination and a top potential market for casino gambling.

According to Abboud, the Las Vegas Sands is proud of its product and wants to bring in to the Lone Star State. The company would like to see a limited number of destination resorts added in the state and placed near the larger cities.

Abboud also stated that the group is in favor of a strict regulatory environment where commercial casinos area able to operate after investing $1 to $3 billion on venues. With this high number, only the best of the best would try to gain licensing in the state.

Economic Struggles

The state of Texas is facing severe economic struggles as of late and need help. New revenues would be a great way to bring in more cash to the state. The budget currently has a shortfall of $4.6 billion. This is due to a downturn in the gas and oil industry plus the COVID-19 pandemic.

Options being considered to help with the shortfall include casinos and sports betting, plus the legalization of marijuana. It appears as though a gambling bill would have greater support in the state than a marijuana one, but consideration is being given for all.

The state would also have the ability to place a sin tax on gaming revenues. And casinos would provide extended economic benefits. The casinos would be job creators, which would mean more employment opportunities for people in the state. In his speech, Abboud pointed out that casinos are ‘tremendous generators of revenues.’

Right now, Texas only has three small casinos operated by Native American tribes. There are horse tracks and greyhound racetracks that provide additional gambling options. Many residents of Texas go out of state to gamble. It has been estimated that as much as $5 billion is spent each year at casinos in neighboring states like Nevada.

Adelson has support on his side when it comes to pushing for casino legislation. Texas Representative Joe Deshotel is also in favor of commercial gaming. During the last session of legislation, Deshotel introduced a bill that would create an amendment to the state’s constitution to allow casinos to be placed in specific coastal areas.

This bill did not move forward. However, Deshotel is trying again and will propose a similar measure during the next legislative session that starts next month.

For now, we will have to wait and see if Adelson has enough pull to get lawmakers on his side to see casinos become a reality in the state. He certainly has plenty of money to lobby for the effort and will most likely use his wealth to his advantage.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.