Las Vegas Gambling Company Serves Pro-Casino Ads Across Texas

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Texas Destination Resort Alliance (TDRA), a branch of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino gambling empire, has launched a political advertising campaign to persuade Texans to vote for a possible November ballot proposal to legalize commercial casinos, Las Vegas Journal-Review reported last week.

“Let the Texans decide” is the mantra of a new website TDRA was launched as part of its efforts to sell the concept to Texans, who lean in favor of the idea. The campaign includes millions of dollars in radio and television advertising, according to the Journal.

“Texans currently spend several billion dollars a year on games in neighboring states such as Louisiana, New Mexico, [and] Oklahoma, ”the campaign says on its website.

“We want to keep that money in Texas – to fund schools that educate the next generation of leaders. Create new, well-paying jobs to support Texan families. ”

The ads began the same week, one of the company’s vice presidents, Andy Abboud, testified before the Texas House State Affairs Committee in support of Representative John Kuempel (R-Seguin) Joint House Resolution (HJR) 133, which would offer four “destination resorts” including casinos in the metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Austin.

An invoice identical to HJR 133, Joint Senate Resolution (SJR) 49 by Senator Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), is also currently on the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee.

Abboud stressed in his testimony that the expansion of gambling will not be exclusively about casinos, but the economic development that accompanied it. The specific language of HJR 133 and SJR 49 would in part require voters to approve four destination stations in metropolitan areas of more than 2 million people.

A “destination resort” is defined as a “mixed-use development consisting of a combination of various tourist amenities and facilities, including hotels, villas, restaurants, limited gaming facilities, meeting rooms, attractions , entertainment facilities, shopping malls and casino games. facilities. “

The proposed constitutional amendments would establish a Texas Gaming Commission with “broad authority to adopt rules the commission deems necessary or desirable for the strict regulation of casino gaming, as permitted by this section.”

The constitutional changes would include a minimum required investment of $ 2 billion for metropolitan areas with more than 5 million people and a minimum investment of $ 1 billion for metropolitan areas with two to five million people. Population totals would be based on federal estimates as of July 1, 2019.

Casinos would be liable for a tax of 25% on income from slot machines and 10% on income from table games.

HJR 133 and SJR 49 would also expand casino gambling on federally recognized Indian reservations, grant additional privileges to licensees of greyhound racing and horse racing, and allow lawmakers to legalize sports betting.

Objections to legalizing casinos include their possible social consequences, including more gambling addiction and personal financial losses that can lead individuals to become more dependent on welfare.

Jonathan Covey, director of policy for the Christian advocacy organization Texas Values, said in an appeal with Texan earlier this year, “We do not support the legalization of casinos in Texas. It is not good for families and it is not good for the economy. “

Amendments to the Texas Constitution require the approval of two-thirds of each chamber in the state legislature and the approval of a majority of those who vote in a statewide referendum.

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