Las Vegas Sands, Adelsons Donated Millions to Texas Politicians During Casino Bills Consideration

Posted on: February 6, 2023, 08:09h. 

Last updated on: February 6, 2023, 11:29h.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS), its former CEO Sheldon Adelson, and his wife, Miriam, made major contributions to the campaigns of Texas politicians in recent years. It was done in an apparent effort to curry favor to get a casino bill approved and, later, to open a destination resort in the Lone Star State.

Donald Trump shares a secret with Sheldon Adelson
Donald Trump shares a secret with Sheldon Adelson. Adelson died in 2021, but his Las Vegas Sands company continues to make major donations to politicians, such as in Texas. State legislators may soon consider casino-enabling legislation. (Image: Getty Images)

Part of the loot came from LVS’ political action committee, which recently contributed to the three most powerful Republicans in state politics. House Speaker Dade Phelan of Beaumont received $300K, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick $225K, and Governor Greg Abbott $200K in the past year.

Mark P. Jones, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, said the LVS PAC has a two-track donation strategy, starting with the donations to Phelan, Abbott, and Patrick.

They are the “three most pivotal actors in the 2023 legislative session,” Jones said.

But it doesn’t stop there. The LVS PAC has given in the range of $3,000 and $30,000 to more than 150 current state representatives and senators out of a total of 181, Jones said. These include Republicans and Democrats.

You would have to search far and wide on the Texas House and Senate floor to find a legislator who has not received a campaign contribution from the Las Vegas Sands,” Jones told

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson also made substantial donations over the past three years. Sheldon Adelson was LVS’ CEO and a Republican national mega-donor. He died in 2021.

The Sands and its associated political action committees gave $3.1 million in campaign donations last year, according to the Dallas Morning News. Republicans received at least $1.7 million, the paper reports, while Democratic lawmakers and candidates received about $603,500.

The Adelsons also donated to the campaigns of many Texas Republicans via the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Sands Lobbyists Take Texas

The donations come as LVS is working hard behind the scenes at the state capital in Austin. LVS employed at least 63 lobbyists in Texas last month, The Dallas Morning News reported, citing state records. The total salary for the lobbyists is predicted to come to $5.9 million for 2023, the report added.

That compares to 76 lobbyists hired by LVS in 2021. They were paid $6.7 million that year.

The lobbyists are attempting to reverse the state’s historic opposition to commercial casinos. Supporters of legalized casino gambling in Texas say the move would help create a new revenue stream for the state and encourage increased tourism and economic development.

The primordial goal of the Las Vegas Sands in contributing millions of dollars to Texas lawmakers and spending millions of dollars on hired gun lobbyists is to obtain access to the most lucrative untapped gambling market in the United States: the Lone Star State,” Jones told

“The Las Vegas Sands leadership … has not only gotten casino gambling legislation closer to the goal line than it’s ever been before but also ensured that when the casino licenses are distributed, the Las Vegas Sands will enjoy a privileged seat at the table along with Houston’s Tilman Fertitta,” Jones continued.

University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus points out that “donations always move the needle politically in Texas. It might take a few sessions, but money talks in the Texas legislature.”

Phelan and Abbott recently signaled they would consider legislation to permit destination casinos. But so far, Patrick, who presides over the Senate, hasn’t shown he would back such casino-enabling proposals.

Texas legislators recently introduced two bills that would allow for destination casinos and sports betting.

Sports Betting Lobbying

Sports wagering businesses DraftKings and FanDuel, and casino company MGM Resorts International, also have hired lobbyists in Texas, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would need to back a gambling bill before it is sent to the state’s voters in November for final approval. If the voters support the referendum, the state’s constitution would be amended. reached out to a spokesman for LVS. There was no immediate comment.