The US casino industry generally considers Texas to be the golden goose. But the problem with developing gaming properties in the state come from its sturdy economic situation.
As many other states, Texas suffered from the coronavirus pandemic as well. The situation is not as bad as it is in other US regions but still the Lone Star State is suffering some loses.
Lawmakers see gaming and cannabis legislation as a compensation for those loses. However, a recent economic forecast removes the concerns, according to Executive Editor of Texas Tribune, Ross Ramsey.
Ramsey said: “Some of the folks promoting casinos and marijuana sales in Texas were hoping the recession triggered by the pandemic would open legislative minds to the possibility of new ways to raise money without angering taxpayers”.
Even though, politicians generally like to try new revenue sources, it turns out that Texas won’t be needing the extra cash that casinos and marijuana could bring.
Last week Controller Glenn Hegar released the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE), which shows the state will have $112.5 billion for general purpose spending for the 2022-23 biennium.
According to Hegar, the revenue represents an estimates number of 0.4% decrease from fund for 2020-21 biennium. He added: “This decline is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused revenue collections to fall well short of what was expected when the Legislature approved the 2020-21 budget. The ending 2020-21 balance will be close to a negative $1 billion.”
Last year, Las Vegas Sands supported Republican legislation in Texas with millions of dollars. It is no secret that late LVS chairman Sheldon Adelson was interested in Texas gaming market.
Even though Adelson passed away, his deputies Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein and CFO Patrick Dumont share a lot of his visions and plan to continue the lobbying blitz with the hope of bringing a high-end integrated resort to Texas.
Two Factors for Gaming Expansion
When it comes to gaming expansion in a certain state, there are two factors to have in mind. The first one is the state’s need for more revenue.
The other factor is losing revenue to other states. According to some sources, Texas already plunk down $5 billion in other states.
Some other states like Oklahoma, Louisiana are already experiencing a lot of income from the online gaming market but Texas’ lawmakers seem not to show any interested in the matter, especially in gaming dollars fleeing to another state.
Ramsey points out that politicians in the state have long been reactive when it comes to gaming. Legalization of bingo, lottery and other were born out of necessity, rather than something else.
Another factor that could contribute to casino efforts in Texas is related to the fact that various companies are shifting headquarters to Texas from California.
Source: “Texas’s Tidy Finances Could Weigh on Casino Efforts”, Todd Shriber, January 17, 2021