State representatives from Texas have been pushing for the legalization of gambling in The Lone Star State for some time. They failed on their first try in 2021. However, their latest attempt to legalize statewide gambling has a decent chance of being successful.
State Rep. Charlie Geren filed a resolution (House Joint Resolution 97) which will let voters in the state decide if they want to legalize gambling in Texas. If voters approve the move in the November election, Texas will get seven high-end destination resorts i.e. casinos and hotels with concert venues, conference halls, retail centres, etc.
Casinos Partnering with Horse-Racing Operators
Geren, backed by Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), proposes that casino operators form partnerships with horse-racing operators, something he also called for in 2021 when the effort to legalize gambling in Texas came up short.
Geren had Las Vegas Sands’ backing in 2021 too. The gambling giant and state representative will hope that the millions of dollars they spent on advertising and lobbyists would yield better results than two years ago, though.
And they have good reasons to feel optimistic. Unlike the 2021 legislation, the new proposal does away with the tiered licensing system. The 2021 proposal said that casino operators would partner with racetracks, which have been operating in Texas since 1987, and apply for so-called second-tier licenses.
Those licenses would have allowed operators to offer “limited casino gaming” – a facility with a maximum of 750 gaming positions where only 25 per cent of those can be table games.
The new plan removes the tiered licensing system. Instead, it puts casino and racetrack operators on equal footing.
Native American Tribes Open to Casino Partnerships
Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President of Government Relations Andy Abboud said that the new proposal brought everyone together whereas the previous one “divided” the operators.
Abboud was confident their renewed efforts would bring positive results as they had “a much broader coalition of people” behind the proposal. He added that the new plan would “revitalize the thoroughbred horse-racing industry in Texas” and would also boost tourism and agriculture.
In what can be seen as a positive signal for Las Vegas Sands, one of the tribes that own a racetrack in Texas, the Chickasaw Nation, said it would be open to partnering with a casino operator. The Native American tribe expressed a desire to engage with the Legislature as it would bring economic benefits to Texas and would open “tens of thousands of jobs.”
If the bill gets voters’ approval, it would legalize sports betting in The Lone Star State too.
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