Posted on: December 4, 2023, 02:14h.
Last updated on: December 4, 2023, 02:31h.
Following last week’s announcement that Dr. Miriam Adelson and the Miriam Adelson Trust are acquiring a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks, there’s renewed optimism that Texas will eventually permit commercial casinos.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R), who has long opposed gaming expansion in the state, is damping that enthusiasm. The second-highest ranking Texas politician and president of the State Senate reiterated the view that the votes aren’t there for advancing casino legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk.
My experience and my knowledge is that we aren’t even close to having 15 votes or 16 votes for casino,” Patrick said in a recent interview with CBS News.
Adelson’s purchase of the majority control of the Mavericks, current owner Mark Cuban’s well-documented desire for casino gaming to come to Texas, and the point that the issue advanced as far as it ever had in this year’s legislative session, are among the factors contributing to renewed hope that the second-largest state will eventually welcome integrated resorts.
Regarding Texas Casinos, Lots of Moving Parts
Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), the gaming operator in which Adelson is the largest shareholder, has spent millions of dollars lobbying Texas politicians to advance the casino issue. Along with New York City, the Lone Star state is widely viewed as the best frontier for commercial gaming expansion in this country.
While polls indicate Texas voters favor adding both casinos and sports wagering, getting those issues on the ballot is a different matter. Amendments to the state constitution are required, and that means two-thirds majorities in the State House and Senate are needed. Only after that hurdle is cleared can gaming expansion be put before the voters.
As such, some gaming industry insiders view the concept of gaming venues in Texas as a long shot. In addition to casino opponent Patrick controlling the agenda for the State Senate, Texas doesn’t need the revenue expanded gaming would provide.
That said, casinos and sports wagering are supported by some big names, including Cuban, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and Houston Rockets owner and Golden Nugget boss Tilman Fertitta. David Cordish, head of the Cordish Companies, which has commercial real estate exposure in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, is also constructive on integrated resorts in Texas following Adelson’s Mavericks acquisition.
Could Be Awhile for Another Texas Casino Debate
Following an array of failures by the Republican-controlled House, the Texas legislature is in the midst of a fourth special session. Unless a fifth is called, the legislature isn’t scheduled to convene next year. Patrick told CBS News that February could be an ideal time for another special session.
Even if that happens, policymakers would likely tackle issues such as property tax relief and cost-of-living increases for retired teachers, both of which were approved by voters.
With the Texas House, described by Patrick as “dysfunctional,” failing to pass election integrity and school choice bills, both of which are supported by the Senate, that could be a sign that gaming expansion bills won’t appear again until 2025 at the earliest.