Mavs sale could provoke legal sports betting, casinos in Texas

Adelson family has political influence, expertise in casino-resort developments

Mavericks Sale Opens Door for Casino Resorts in Texas
Mark Cuban (Illustration by The Real deal with Getty)

Mark Cuban’s sale of the Dallas Mavericks to the Adelson family could propel Texas lawmakers to legalize gambling and prompt casino-resort developments.

Miriam Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and widow of the late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, is set to acquire a majority stake in the NBA squad for an estimated $3.5 billion, pending league approval. Cuban will retain some shares and remain in control of basketball operations.

The sale goes beyond a sports franchise simply changing hands, though. The Adelson family’s expertise in real estate development and its long-time financial support of the Republican party could trigger a domino effect that leads to the legalization of casinos and sports betting in the Lone Star State, the Dallas Morning News reported

“They’ve been looking at Texas for a long time,” Alan Feldman, of the University of Las Vegas International Gaming Institute, told the outlet. “People in the community might be hesitant about building a new arena, but they can put a new proposal on the table that might include a casino resort. That wasn’t a realistic vision before but maybe that could change now.”

And while Cuban’s exact reasons for selling are unclear, the billionaire entrepreneur has been plotting a casino-resort development in Dallas, including a place for the Mavericks. Cuban revealed last year that Las Vegas Sands was a partner in a planned development. But the project will remain on the backburner since Texas lawmakers killed a Sands-backed proposal earlier this year that would have allowed gambling casinos attached to hotel, retail and entertainment districts. 

Legalizing casino gambling in Texas requires a constitutional amendment, which would require approval by the Texas Legislature as well as a majority of Texas voters. But the potential economic gains from legalized gambling is substantial, with estimates suggesting that over $8 billion is illegally bet in Texas annually, the outlet reported. Texas remains one of the few states without legalized casino gambling or sports betting.

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“Texas is such a big stage. So much of a revenue base could come from sports betting and it’s the reason why a lot of states have implemented it,” Andrew Brandt, executive director for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova University’s Law School, told the outlet. “It’s an anomaly that large states like Texas and California are sitting on the sidelines in this industry.”

Experts argue that Texas, with its passionate sports fanbase and growing population, is a prime location for casinos and gambling companies. The potential economic boost from legalized gambling could address various challenges faced by the rapidly expanding state.

Despite opposition from state officials such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has historically resisted such legislative efforts, the financial resources and influence of the Adelson family could shift the landscape. The proximity of DFW International Airport further enhances the appeal for casino operators looking to attract out-of-town visitors.

While competing with established gambling destinations like Las Vegas may take time, Cuban believes casino resorts would put Texas on the map as a destination worth saving up vacation funds for, benefiting not only the Mavericks but other local teams and attractions. 

—Quinn Donoghue

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