Texas could soon consider legalizing casinos if Sheldon Adelson gets his way
By Bob Garcia
Las Vegas Sands might be looking to grab a piece of the Lone Star State
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) might be interested in swapping out its Nevada dirt for Texas fields. The Sheldon Adelson-led casino operator is already negotiating deals to sell its Vegas Strip properties, and the initial indications were that it might be interested in focusing less on US operations and more on Asian activity. However, it has now surfaced that Adelson, along with his wife, has donated $4.5 million to Republican candidates in Texas, leading some to believe that he could ultimately be trying to find a way to bring legalized casinos to the Lone Star State.
Texas has always been about as anti-gambling as anyone could be. There’s no denying that there is plenty of underground gambling activity going on, but the closest thing it has to casinos are the successful, but controversial, social poker clubs that have popped up over the past several years. These are operating in a legal gray area, charging memberships and allowing poker games to be held in their venues, but not collecting any rake.
There have been rumors lately that Texas might explore legalizing casinos as a way, just like everywhere else, to offset the losses caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a number of storms that took their toll on the state. With neighbors like Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas and more offering casinos, Texas is in a veritable black hole and it’s known that the state is losing tens of millions of dollars in gambling revenue that crosses the border to other states every year.
A constitutional amendment is now being addressed that might allow casinos, and Adelson could be ready to support those efforts to get a foot in the door. The Texas House of Representatives has put together a proposal to alter the state’s constitution, and Representative Joe Deshotel asserts, “Now is possibly the very best time that the possibility of legalizing online casinos has had in fairly some time. We are attempting to stop cash leaving Texas in such giant quantities so that it can instead go into coffers right here and be used to serve Texans who need assistance.”