HOUSTON - Texas lawmakers are now considering legislation that would allow a number of casino resorts to build in the state.
A multi-million-dollar TV and radio advertising campaign started Thursday by Las Vegas Sands. According to Las Vegas Sands Senior Vice President Andy Abboud, they’re excited about possibly bringing resorts to Texas and they’re supporting the proposed legislation.
"The Texas Destination Resort Alliance will keep Texans informed on our efforts to bring destination resorts to Texas," said Abboud. "We are excited to tell the story about what these resorts can bring to the state, including tens of thousands of jobs. We look forward engaging Texans in our ongoing efforts, as well as continuing to work with the legislature to give voters the chance to make destination resorts a reality."
The proposed legislation would allow the construction of resort casinos in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. In addition, a Texas Gaming Commission would be established and tribal casinos in Eagle Pass, Livingston, and El Paso could expand.
"We need gambling and casinos in Texas, because too much money is leaving our state," said Jim McIngvale, "Mattress Mack". "Let’s keep the money in Texas. Create more jobs for Texans. I’m all about it."
Mattress Mack is a known gambler who enjoys betting on the Houston Astros and Texans. Most recently, Mattress Mack flew to Colorado to bet $3 million on Tampa Bay winning Super Bowl 55.
"I gamble in Nevada, sometimes in Mississippi, sometimes in New Jersey, everywhere but the home state," said Mattress Mack. "We need to open up the home state to gambling. What’s the lottery? It’s a gamble. Why not let people gamble in Texas?"
While Mattress Mack has voiced his support for these proposed changes, some Texas lawmakers remain hesitant.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick spoke about the issue in February with KFYO Radio in Lubbock.
"I’ve never been in favor of it," said Patrick. "Casinos say they’ll generate about $700 million in tax dollars. A lot of money. It’s equivalent to about 3 days out of 365 days a year of our total budget."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott hasn’t publicly discussed the issue recently, but in 2015 he tweeted his opposition.
"I’m saying no to gambling expansion in Texas," tweeted Governor Abbott in 2015.
Texas lawmakers will vote on the issue within the next few weeks. If approved, it will be placed on the November election ballot for Texans to decide.
"Texans like to gamble, like to take a chance" said Mattress Mack. "Let’s roll it out and keep that revenue where it belongs, in the greatest state of the union, Texas."