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Since the 2023 vote in the legislature to legalize gambling in Texas, several efforts have been made to expand gambling services. Even as momentum builds to bring casino gambling to the Lone Star State, advocates remain challenged by significant milestones.
Texas is home to a few native American casinos, the lottery, and horse racing. But with resort-style casinos dominating the gambling industry, advocates are now pushing for the adoption of these trendy gambling businesses in Texas.

Adelson Family Spearhead Efforts to Legalize Casino in Major Texas Cities

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a resort and casino company owned by the Adelson family, recently stepped up their campaign to legalize casino gaming in Texas and to introduce destination-style resort casinos to popular cities like Dallas and San Antonio. With the recent acquisition of a major holding in the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban’s NBA team, the Las Vegas Sands Group is strengthening their campaign efforts. In the past few weeks, the Adelson family has reactivated their lobbying group, the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, with high hopes of doing casino resort business in Texas.

As events unfold, political analysts comment on the need for advocates to remain cautious about the possibility of casino legalization. In an interview with News 4 San Antonio, Dr. Jon Taylor, a political science chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio, signified the presence of a positive momentum towards the adoption of casino gambling.

Dr. Jon suggested that the renewed interest in legalizing casino gambling is likely due to strategic investment by the multi-billionaire Las Vegas Sands. In Dr. Jon’s words, “The Sands Company… would not have purchased 61% of the Dallas Mavericks if they did not think that casino gaming was coming to Texas at some point in the future.”

But as the advocates press for casino gambling to be signed into law as a legal venture, several obstacles remain to be overcome. Most notable is the staunch opposition from conservative and evangelical groups within Texas politics. Staunch Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, indicated how old-school evangelicals, like the current lieutenant governor of Texas, Lt.Gov. Dan Patrick stands at the forefront of the opposition against casino legalization.

Opponents from conservative and evangelical groups retain their stand against casino legalization primarily because of the moral implications and their beliefs.

Texas Faces Political Divide in Push For Casino Legalization

With the legislature divided among those favoring versus fighting casino legalization, the goal of seeing casino gaming legalized is as tumultuous as ever. Recently held primary elections saw potentially casino legislation-supportive Republicans floored against their more conservative counterparts.

Despite some accommodating views from Speaker of the House Dade Phelan and the state’s governor, Gov. Greg Abbott, the constitutional requirements for a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate, in addition to a signature from the Governor, remain a formidable challenge. This is aside from the citizens voting on the ballot as to whether or not the bill should be passed. Achieving such multi-stage consensus seems impractical, with the majority of the legislature holding anti-legalization views concerning casino gaming, despite public opinion polls suggesting favorable views.

Advocates emphasize the potential economic benefits of casino legalization, such as greater revenue and tourist prospects for the state. Dr. Taylor emphasized Texas’ competitive disadvantage relative to surrounding states that currently provide various types of gaming. While big corporations like the Las Vegas Sands Group and legislative advocates rally for change, achieving casino legalization in Texas remains highly uncertain. Exploring the merits that gambling presents could influence a shift in the legislature towards legalizing casino gaming in the Lone Star State. But as of the moment, speculations are high as to the possibility of casino legalization as momentum continues to build.

Emily Davis

Emily has a deep understanding of the gambling industry's regulatory landscape. With over 12 years of experience, she keeps readers informed about changes in legislation that affect both online and brick-and-mortar casinos.

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