Multiple bills that would greatly loosen restrictions on gambling in Texas were debated before the legislature this week.
But when one of the world’s wealthiest men, Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., testified before the House Licensing and Administration Procedures Committee that the Dallas-Fort Worth area would make a great place for him to begin developing a casino, speculation began everywhere about the implications for Dallas.
One source of contention was the Dallas Convention Center Hotel, which would suddenly seem far more viable and profitable with such a large attraction nearby.
Mayor Leppert denied an expressed connection between the stringent effort to push through the hotel with the potentially upcoming legalization of gambling in his April 1 debate with Anne Raymond.
Caller Nancy: If the city gets this hotel built and approved, how would they profit if gambling is legalized and the city ends up getting a casino in there. Is the city going to actually profit from the casino? I think that’s why they’re pushing this.
Mayor: It has nothing to do with casino or gambling or anything else, and I tell ya that’s probably so far out that you know it’s trying to look at what the implications are.
Moderator: That doesn’t factor into this at all?
Mayor: It doesn’t factor into this at all, is the short answer.
Others believe that the legalization of gambling would simply be a very propitious development in the struggle to build the hotel.
Pete Oppel, owner of the blog Pete’s Dallas Place, noted, “A casino located just a chip's throw away from the Dallas Convention Center suddenly makes the proposed Convention Center Hotel an even more attractive option. A casino there would also go a long way toward the complete revitalization of the West End.”
Thus far the mayors of Ft. Worth and Arlington have expressed their opposition to a casino in the area. Either way, hopefully Leppert and Raymond will add the topic of the implications of a casino on the proposed hotel to their upcoming debate.
Holly LaFon is a Dallas journalist who has written and worked for several area publications including D Magazine and Examiner.