GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s casino company Las Vegas Sands is looking to push for the legalization of casinos in Texas, the gaming organization confirmed this week.
According to The Texas Tribune, Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands’s top lobbyist, said the company was pursuing Texas ahead of the upcoming legislative session as part of its efforts to expand the number of casinos around the world in places like Japan, Brazil and New York.
During a conference hosted by the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association Tuesday, Abboud reportedly said the company views “Texas as a worldwide destination and one of the top potential markets in the entire world.”
“Texas is considered the biggest plum still waiting to be out there in the history of hospitality and gaming,” the lobbyist added, according to the Tribune.
Abboud proposed a “limited number of destination resorts in Texas,” in or near big cities, that would “blend into existing infrastructure,” rather than mirror Las Vegas, adding that a “strict regulatory environment” would be an “absolute requirement.”
“They are job creators, they hire a lot of additional employees, they have tremendous purchasing power,” Abboud said of casinos. “But they are also tremendous generators of tax revenue.”
The push for casinos in Texas comes after the Tribune reported that Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, ranked among the top donors who helped Republicans maintain their majority in the Texas state House, including a $4.5 million donation in September to an account associated with the Republican State Leadership Committee.
As of 2020, Nevada and Louisiana are the only two U.S. states that allow casino gambling statewide, though several states permit casinos in specific geographic areas, including Atlantic City, N.J., as well as on certain Native American reservations.
However, the effort to legalize casino gambling in certain parts of Texas could face some pushback, with Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottFaith leaders call on Congress to lead the response to a global pandemic Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Biden administration announces federal support for patients, abortion providers in Texas MORE (R) saying in 2015 that he “wholeheartedly” supported Texas’s gaming restrictions while ordering state lottery officials to stop exploring sports betting games.
Texas is home to some of the most strict gambling laws in the country, although it does allow bingo, the state lottery and gambling at horse and greyhound dog races.
Three federally-recognized Native American tribes in Texas located in Eagle Pass, El Paso and Livingston are also able to run casinos with a limited number of games.