87th LegislatureElections 2022Pro-Casino PAC Donated Over $500,000 to Texas Candidates Before Primary Day

A new political action committee funded by Miriam Adelson donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Texas candidates.
March 15, 2022
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Through a new political action committee, Las Vegas Sands Corporation dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars into Texas legislative races before the primary election and is gearing up for another attempt to legalize casinos during next year’s regular legislative session.

Texas Sands PAC reported $2.3 million in contributions in a February 22 report filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. The PAC also recorded $563,750 in expenditures.

The entirety of the PAC’s funding came from Dr. Miriam Adelson, the widow of Sheldon Adelson, who was a prominent Trump supporter and CEO of Las Vegas Sands.

Miriam Adelson owns most of Las Vegas Sands and her net worth is estimated to be $38.2 billion, making her the 36th wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes.

Texas has stringent laws against unsanctioned forms of gambling, including a constitutional ban on casinos. There are exceptions in place such as for licensed organizations to offer charitable bingo. Voters also passed a constitutional amendment last year to allow two professional rodeo organizations to offer charitable raffles.

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Meanwhile, the Texas Lottery boasts billions of dollars of sales each year and broke its all-time sales record in Fiscal Year 2021. This fiscal year, the lottery is already exceeding its sales from last year.

Despite hiring more than 70 lobbyists and spending millions of dollars on advertising, Sands made little progress on advancing its proposal that Texans vote on a constitutional amendment to allow “destination resorts” that would include casino gambling. Bills to allow sports wagering also failed to gain traction. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had balked at the prospect of legalizing casinos early in the regular session, citing the tangled web of conflicting interests involved.

Before primary day, the PAC shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates and incumbents in the Texas legislature on both sides of the aisle.

Texas Sands also wrote a $75,000 check to Gov. Greg Abbott’s reelection campaign. Abbott easily won the Republican nomination on March 1, receiving more than two-thirds of the vote.

The following Texas legislative incumbents received contributions from Texas Sands PAC and proceeded to either win or advance to a runoff on primary day.

  • Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney)
  • Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston)
  • Rep. Alma Allen (D-Houston)
  • Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio)
  • Rep. Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd)
  • Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia)
  • Rep. Rhetta Bowers (D-Garland)
  • Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock)
  • Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake)
  • Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston)
  • Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-El Paso)
  • Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City)
  • Rep. Justin Holland (R-Rockwall)
  • Rep. Lacey Hull (R-Houston)
  • Rep. Kyle Kacal (R-College Station)
  • Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian)
  • Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
  • Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano)
  • Rep. Ray Lopez (D-San Antonio)
  • Rep. Andy Murr (R-Junction)
  • Rep. Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-El Paso)
  • Rep. John Raney (R-College Station)
  • Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo)
  • Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri)
  • Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy)
  • Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City)
  • Rep. David Spiller (R-Jacksboro)
  • Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood)
  • Rep. Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton)
  • Rep. Stan Lambert (R-Abilene)

Also on the list of candidates who received Texas Sands money were Pete Flores, who advanced to a Republican runoff in Senate District 14, Angelia Orr, who won the Republican primary in House District 13, and Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), who won the GOP nomination for Senate District 12.

A copy of Texas Sands PAC’s campaign finance report can be found below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.