Casinos betting on legalization in Texas

Las Vegas Sands isn’t alone in buying up property for future gambling sites

Casino Operators Buying up Land in Texas

From left: David Cordish, Edward Pitoniak, Miriam Adelson and Heidi Grant (Getty, VICI Properties, Choctaw Nation, The Cordish Companies)

Dallas Mavericks owner Miriam Adelson isn’t the only casino operator buying land in Texas in hopes that sports betting and casino resorts will be legalized. 

After Adelson’s $3.8 billion purchase of the Mavericks, it was revealed that her family business, Las Vegas Sands, owns 259 acres in Irving, hinting at a potential casino resort in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb. But it’s clear that a handful of other companies have similar plans up their sleeves, the Dallas Morning News reported

“We have 30 million residents, and many certainly would be interested in having casinos closer than a drive to Oklahoma,” property market consultant Jeanette Rice told the outlet. “If the regulatory doors are open to such moves, I imagine that many gaming groups would be salivating at the opportunity to expand into Texas.”

Last year, Fort Worth-based resort and spa operator Canyon Ranch partnered with entertainment company VICI Properties, which owns Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and other casinos and entertainment sites, to expand the Canyon Ranch brand. VICI invested $200 million in a Canyon Ranch development in Texas’ Hill Country, capitalizing on the state’s explosive population growth and demand for entertainment.

Other casino operators, such as Choctaw Casinos and Resorts and the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, have established their presence in the DFW area. Choctaw has prominent branding through naming rights and sponsorship deals, while the Chickasaw Nation owns the Lone Star Park horse racetrack and operates the Winstar World Casino and Resort near the Texas-Oklahoma border.

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The Cordish Companies, in partnership with the Texas Rangers, is developing the $1 billion Texas Live! mixed-use development in Arlington. Cordish recently broke ground on a $270 million Live! Casino & Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana, which is projected to generate significant gaming tax revenues for the state, the outlet reported.

Even though casino gambling is illegal in Texas, the gaming industry is attracted to the state’s economic and demographic growth. Texans spent an estimated $5 billion a year on gambling in adjacent states and Las Vegas, so the interest in Texas is likely to continue.

Legalization is a major hurdle to clear, but it’s possible that the Adelson family’s long-standing political influence will sway Texas legislators to allow sports betting and casino resorts in the Lone Star State. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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