December 11, 2020 Sports Betting, Casino, Legal, Land-Based

Las Vegas Sands pushing for casino legalization in Texas

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Las Vegas Sands Corp. owner Sheldon Adelson has deployed lobbyists to Texas in hopes of pushing casino legalization ahead of the upcoming legislative session.

The Texas Tribune reports that Las Vegas Sands hired 10 Texas lobbyists to advocate for casino legislation in a state with strict laws against gaming.

One of those lobbyists, Andy Abboud, spoke at the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association earlier this week where he said the company is pursuing gaming legalization efforts in Texas along with Japan, Brazil and New York.

“Texas is considered the biggest plum still waiting to be out there in the history of hospitality and gaming,” Abboud said according to the Texas Tribune. “(Casinos) are job creators, they hire a lot of additional employees, they have tremendous purchasing power. But they are also tremendous generators of tax revenue.”

The news outlet reports that Abboud encouraged lawmakers to foster a competitive bidding process.

Abboud told legislators to make a “minimum investment of 1 or 2 or 3 billion dollars so that you absolutely only get the best companies bidding and they are forced by law to build an incredible facility.”

Adelson spent millions of dollars on Texas state House candidates this past election cycle to ensure the Republican Party maintained its advantage in the chamber, which they did.

Even with a Republican-dominated legislature, Adelson faces an uphill battle in persuading Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to embrace gaming.

Phil Cox, a veteran Republican political operative, said during a Global Gaming Convention virtual panel this week, “My read right now, and I’ve talked to the Governor about this, is he potentially could go along with it. He doesn’t love it but he would go along with it.

“I think the issue is the Lt. Governor, who has a lot of influence in the senate, is not in favor right now and will likely block it.”

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