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Las Vegas Sands launches multimillion-dollar ad campaign to push for casinos in Texas

The TV and radio ads, set to start airing Thursday, make the case that Texas is forfeiting "billions" in tourism dollars to nearby states that allow casinos.
Slot machines

AUSTIN, Texas — This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.

The gaming empire Las Vegas Sands is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz to build support for its campaign to bring casinos to Texas.

The company will begin airing TV and radio ads Thursday in the state's biggest markets, according to an announcement first shared with The Texas Tribune. The news of the ads comes the same day that a state House committee was set to review proposals expanding gambling in Texas, including one being backed by Las Vegas Sands.

The ads tell Texans that "billions of tourism and gambling dollars" leave the state every year for neighboring states that allow more gaming.

"This November, the Legislature can allow Texans to vote to build four world-class destination resorts and casinos, bringing those dollars back to Texas," a narrator says in one of the half-minute TV spots. "Let’s boost our economy, create tens of thousands of jobs and help fund vital services like schools and public safety."

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Las Vegas Sands is funding the ads under the banner of its new Texas Destination Resort Alliance, which has unveiled a website and social media accounts to coincide with the ad campaign.

The company is backing legislation that would let Texans vote on whether to create special casino licenses for four "destination resorts" in the state's four largest metropolitan areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. The ads will air in those markets as well as some others.

Las Vegas Sands has spent millions of dollars to hire dozens of lobbyists this session, hoping to persuade a Legislature that has been reluctant to expand gambling options in the past.

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The Sands push has made little progress in the Legislature so far. The Senate version has been referred to a committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.

Wednesday's hearing in the House will also include a discussion of a bill that would allow sports gambling in the state.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.