Governor Greg Abbott is running for a third term as Texas’ governor. It is the second biggest state in the U.S.A. and “Beto” O’Rourke from the Democrats is Abbott’s main rival. O’Rourke has stated several times in his campaign trail that he will favor approving casino gaming in the state.
Texas has one gaming venue, an Eagle Pass tribal casino that the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas runs. It provides poker, slot machines, and bingo. But it lacks table games like roulette and blackjack.
The state has restrictive gaming regulations that are fortified in its constitution. Yet, it allows horse and dog racing, and lottery. Abbott previously restricted casinos but he has gradually changed his stance about them in recent years.
One of the governor’s aides stated that he doesn’t intend to transform Texas to resemble Las Vegas. His administration doesn’t want each corner store to offer slot machines as residents might lose money that they can spend on everyday expenses.
Besides, widespread gaming might escalate crime rates in Texas. 538 conducted a recent poll showing Abbott has 51.5 percent supporters while O’Rourke has 42.9 percent supporters.
Texas Is an Amazing Commercial Casino Frontier in the Country
The state has a fast growth rate despite being large, thus making it a target market for bookie and casino operators. Tribal casinos dominate Florida and California, as they are the other two largest American states.
Different Californian tribes face stiff competition, and some of them offer political donations to lure more players. Florida has a friendly landscape that requires voters to support gaming expansion for a new casino to launch.
Polls show that most Texans like casinos while one-quarter of them oppose the properties. Also, some local politicians claim that Texas is losing valuable tax revenue as some residents visit Louisiana and Oklahoma tribal casinos to play games.
Even so, attempts were made in the past to introduce sports gaming in local casinos. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is viewed as the major obstacle to sports gambling and casino gaming in Texas.
Patrick is a Republican who has a high probability of being reelected. Gaming expansion in the state has more hurdles as the senate might not back Democrats.
Texas Gaming Companies Invest A lot in Politics
Texas doesn’t have a commercial casino now, hence prompting operators to invest more in the state’s politics. A Political Action Committee (PAC) linked to Las Vegas Sands donated $50K to Abbott and $131,729 in Texas. Texas Sands PAC contributed for a few Democrats.
Adelson’s Donation Influenced Abbott’s New Stance
Dr. Miriam Adelson, Sheldon Adelson’s widow, donated $1 million to the governor’s reelection. Tilman Fertitta, Golden Nugget’s boss, has supported Abbott financially for a long period.
Some people say that it is because he doesn’t want Texas to accept more casino operators. His firm runs a Louisiana Golden Nugget casino hotel.
Abbott recently hinted that he will start approving casinos soon. The announcement came at the same time as seven-figure donations.
Adelson is Sands Corporation’s biggest shareholder, and Abbott is seeking re-election from him. Miriam added $1 million to the Texans for Greg Abbott PAC in September 2022.
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