Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is blasting the Texas Racing Commission, following a vote to create more licenses for racetracks.
He says the move appears to be in anticipation of casino expansion in Texas.
“Looks like the Racing Commission thinks it’s the Casino Commission,” Patrick wrote on social media after the commission’s December 13 meeting. “Horse race tracks lose money — millions over the years. No one would invest in a track unless they thought they would be guaranteed a casino license one day if casinos were approved by the people of Texas.”
Patrick’s comments come as Las Vegas Sands, which has pushed heavily for casinos in Texas, purchased a tract of land outside of Dallas near the site of the former Texas Stadium. The move has led to speculation they plan to build a resort on the site in anticipation of legalized gambling.
The Las Vegas Sands corporation runs a multibillion dollar casino empire. In recent years, they have turned their focus to the Lone Star State, starting the Texas Sands PAC. The PAC doled out $2 million to Texas candidates during the 2022 election cycle, including $300,000 to House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont), $225,000 to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, $200,000 to Gov. Greg Abbott, and $50,000 to Comptroller Glenn Hegar.
The Republican Party of Texas, meanwhile, opposes any expansion of gambling, including legalized casino gambling.
An effort to expand casinos in Texas failed in the Texas House last session. It was not given a vote in the Senate.
“The fact is, only 28 out of 85 Republicans voted for casinos in the House this session. 18 Rs played it safe and skipped the vote. The Senate had very little support as well. Sports betting had more support than casinos. A majority of Texans may support casinos one day. But today it looks like the Racing Commission literally put the cart before the horse — that is, the slot machine before the horse,” added Patrick.