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Sheldon Adelson Eyes Casino Legalization in Texas

  • Written By Samantha Browne
  • Edited
  • Reading 5 minutes

Texas has been one of the states to resist the legalization of casino gambling for quite some time. Now, this may be changing as Las Vegas Sands Corporation founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson has taken interest in the state politics and expressed support for a potential expansion of gaming.

Adelson is known as a benevolent casino mogul in places like Las Vegas, Nevada where his company continued to pay employees despite the covid-19 outbreak and following closures, one of the few and if not the only company to retain its entire staff for months.

Where Adelson goes, he brings with him momentum, and while he was criticized for his sponsoring of the Wire Act in a bid to stop the progress of online gambling and poker expansion in the United States, his interest in Texas is genuine.

Adelson has pumped some $4.5 million together with his wife Miriam into various Republican campaigns in the state and he holds the ear of local legislators.

His move in Texas is well-timed, with casinos potentially proving a relief in terms of tax revenue for an embattled state suffering financial shortages due to shutdowns brought on by covid-19. If Adelson has a chance to succeed with expanding casino gaming in Texas, the present situation seems the most propitious.

Experts hope that any tax revenue from casinos will go to windstorm insurance for homeowners and businesses as well as flood assistance. Besides, Texans do gamble, they just have to cross the border with neighboring states where casinos await strategically to benefit from the incoming capital from the state.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Industry Gathering Momentum

Massachusetts may fail to pass a sports betting law before the New Year, but prominent parties from the state have already been voicing their support for such a move. The alliance includes sports franchises, betting companies and even sporting bodies.

The Boston Red Sox, PGA Tour, MGM Springfield, New England Patriots, and FanDuel are just some of the parties that sent a letter last Friday to legislators, urging them to get started on a bill that will help Massachusetts to realize its immense potential in the sports betting vertical.

In the letter, the signees argue that passing a sports betting law would allow the state to create jobs and generate additional tax revenue for the state. There could be as much as $50 million in tax revenue a year, albeit many legislators fear that the actual number would barely scratch $20 million in annual tax gains.

An attempt to spearhead sports betting was done by the House of Republicans but the Senate turned it down, as that bill was embedded into another one focusing on jobs and that, according to Senators, was not the right way to craft a legislation that would legalize sports betting in the state.

There has been naturally a lot of endorsement, including by Red Sox Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs David Friedman reiterating the letter’s position and reminding that legalizing the industry would mean more jobs.

He reminded that illegal and offshore sports betting solutions are still around and that deprives the state from millions of tax revenue in both the short and long terms.

Nevada’s Casinos Take 25% Capacity Reduction

Nevada’s casinos were happy to reopen in June, following several months of chilling shut-downs which impacted their bottom lines by a fair bit. After picking up a little, the Las Vegas Strip and casinos across the Silver States are once again facing a 25% capacity limit, Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Tuesday.

Sisolak, who tested positive for covid-19 himself a few weeks ago, said that all the current 50% capacity limit will have to be scaled down to 25% for at least a period of three weeks as the state tries to deal with the challenges of soaring covid-19 infections.

“I can assure you that the full force of the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be behind the implementation and the enforcement of these 25% requirements.”

Sisolak cautioned residents to comply with the proposed measures in full or run the risk of the state introducing even stricter measures that may prove more disruptive to the economy. Casinos are still accepting reservations for the Thanksgiving holiday, but they will have to comply with all restrictions outlined by the governor.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Brin Gibson noted that casinos will now utilize their surveillance systems to determine whether they were meeting occupancy limits and how many slot machines were utilized at any given time.

All in all, nobody wants a repeat of the March 18 scenario when the governor had to shut down Nevada for 78 days. Gov. Sisolak did caution earlier this week that Nevada is drawing close to that red line once again.

Nevada’s Gaming Revenues Decline in October

Gaming numbers in Nevada declined and understandably so. The Silver States has been dealing with the repercussions of the covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. More importantly, the state is now experiencing another resurgence of infections which threatens the casino industry once again.

In fact, all casinos must now comply with a 25% capacity restriction. It’s amid this context that Nevada posted $822.7 million in gaming revenue in October, or 19.5% decline. Still, the result was a 0.2% improvement over September, 2020, showing that the state has been getting a few things right.

Among those things is sports betting, which soared 27.3% year-over-year, beating October 2019’s results, and collecting $614.1 million in total betting handle. The results were around 14.6% better than September, too, showing a strong sports betting quarter for the Silver State.

Slots managed to see a big chunk of their net value written off because of the restrictions and fewer visitors to the city. Overall, slots lost 18.7% year-over-year in terms of real revenue, and posted only $565.8 million statewide.

Interestingly, though, slots in Las Vegas specifically declined by 30.2% year-over-year exemplifying the impact that lack of tourists has had on the city and its ability to generate revenue during the pandemic.

Samantha has a passion for all things casino, especially for the development in new slots games and technology. She has a background in psychology and loves to study strategies behind gambling in her spare time.