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Las Vegas Sands Funds Campaigns for Gambling Expansion in Texas

A political action committee is seeking to expand the gambling market into Texas by spending more than $500,000 to elect candidates that would support the cause.

The nation’s first 2022 statewide primary election is Tuesday in Texas, with early voting already underway on February 14th.

Why Texas Could Be a Lucrative Market

The Texas Sands PAC was created in January to support campaigns across multiple races. Most of the money was given to legislative incumbents, which include $75,000 to Gov. Greg Abbott, who faces opposition in the primary election.

Miriam Adelson, who is the widow of Sheldon Adelson, former Las Vegas Sands CEO, funded the PAC with $2.3 million. Texas is seen as a lucrative market as it is home to 29 million, which is the second-most populous state in the nation.

Residents in the Lone Star State who want to place wagers either travel to Louisiana or place bets on offshore sportsbooks or local bookies. Research studies show that one million Texans place wagers illegally, which totals $5 billion per year.

The Texas Sands PAC focuses on the job market the gaming expansion would create as if casinos are built. Spokesman Matt Hirsch told Texas Tribune;

“We will continue to actively engage local and state leaders over this year and be prepared to come back next session ready to pass legislation that will ultimately allow voters to decide on this issue.”

Las Vegas Sands’ push for casinos failed in the state’s four biggest cities last year. However, they look to continue the effort this year.

Las Vegas Efforts Fail in Florida and Neighboring Markets Benefit

Las Vegas Sands has looked to expand its presence in other markets across the United States as well. In recent months, the company tried to get enough signatures to have a casino expansion measure in the upcoming November ballot.

The company spent $73.5 million on that unsuccessful effort but was not the only effort that pushed to expand in Florida. FanDuel and DraftKings financed another initiative but failed as well.

Louisiana has benefited from Texas not establishing a sports betting market as of yet. One of the sportsbooks that operate in the state is Caesars Sportsbook.

The sportsbook accepted bets for the Super Bowl, and among those who placed bets was Houston furniture salesman Jim McIngvale. He is also known as Mattress Mack.

McIngvale drove to Louisiana to place two of the largest mobile wagers in history. He placed a bet on the Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Los Angeles Rams outright, but the result went the other way.

Efforts to expand sports betting to other jurisdictions across the nation have continued into 2022. Sports betting is currently legal in 30 states, and three more states are getting ready to launch soon.

New York had the greatest launch month in the industry’s history by bringing in nearly $2 billion in bets and generating $70 million in tax revenue.

The Empire State is the fourth populous state in the country and has 10 million fewer people than Texas. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes sports betting is inevitable in the state.

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