Caesars Also Interested in Texas Casinos

Caesars Entertainment has joined Las Vegas Sands Corp. in being interested in casinos in Texas. The “only” rub is convincing the Texas legislature to agree to put it on the ballot for citizens to vote on.

Up until now Las Vegas Sands Corp. has been largely driving the train of lobbyists trying to persuade the Texas legislature to jump on board a proposal to authorize several casino’s for the Lone Star state’s largest cities.

Add to that interest the largest gaming company in the U.S., Caesars Entertainment. But CEO Tom Reeg isn’t betting the farm on that happening.

During the company’s quarterly conference call recent he commented, “That’s another state where I’m highly confident there will be significant public interest.” He added, “Can you get through the legislature there with all the various competing bodies? The odds would be against you, given what’s happened there historically.”

A bill was filed last week to give Texas’s pro sports teams a chance to vie for sports betting licenses. As in all gaming proposals, this one would require a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the legislature and then a vote of the people to amend the state constitution.

The most prominent opponent to this idea is Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who controls much of what comes before the Senate, where he is presiding officer. Several weeks ago he told a radio talk show, “The teams and casinos trying to push sports betting say they could generate $150 million a year by their numbers. That’s a lot of money. But it pays for half a day of our yearly budget.”

Texas’s budget took a big hit from the pandemic, and it could use more funding. It is facing a budget shortfall of $4.6 billion. That could be even worse after the recent winter storm cut power to the state.

Texas has 13 professional sports teams, many college teams and the second largest state population, so sports betting would be BIG business in the state.