Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino and resort company, is again attempting to expand gambling in Texas by re-upping the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, a special interest front group it created to back its unsuccessful bid to legalize casinos during the 2023 legislative session.

The alliance is circulating a petition to legalize casino-style gaming. Gambling expansion does not appear to be a problem or an issue for Texans, according to the latest polling from the University of Texas at Austin.

During the 2023 session, Sands and its lobbyists made some progress in the Texas House, convincing part of the Republican caucus to join Democrats in voting for a casino measure.

The Republican Party of Texas platform currently opposes any gambling expansion.

However, several Republicans who backed the Sands measure retired, were defeated, or are headed to runoffs after the 2024 primary election. State Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin), a key proponent of gambling, is one of the members headed to a runoff along with four other members who voted for the Sands-backed measure.

Sands employs a familiar talking point first used when the lottery was introduced in Texas in the early 1990s by claiming casino revenue will boost education funding. However, these promises failed to materialize with the lottery in Texas and have not been realized in other states that expanded the casino gambling footprint.

While casino owners never fail to see revenues materialize, promised money for the state can’t keep pace with the costs. According to Baylor economist Earl Grinols’s research, for every dollar of revenue casino gambling generates, three dollars are spent.

In addition to the legislative push, Sands’ owners acquired a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks NBA team in 2023, establishing a foothold in the state. The team is still partly owned by Mark Cuban, who has spent the past year feuding with Billionaire Elon Musk and others about woke corporate policies, including DEI, and endorsing Joe Biden for president.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is the Director of Innovation for Texas Scorecard.