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Mark Cuban Lukewarm About Texas Sports Betting While Advocating For Casinos

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2024-01-05

Mark Cuban Lukewarm About Texas Sports Betting While Advocating For Casinos

Last week, the NBA Board of Governors approved Mark Cuban’s sale of his majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to Dr. Miriam Adelson and members of her family.

While Adelson’s son-in-law, Patrick Dumont, the president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., will serve as the governor of the Mavericks, Cuban will maintain control of basketball operations. The purchase, which values the Mavericks around $3.5 billion, raises the possibility that former casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s surviving family members could seek to build a new arena inside a mega casino. Both the Adelson family and Cuban have stated that there are no plans to move the franchise out of Texas.

A high-profile land purchase this week could assuage any concerns Mavs fans might have about an out-of-state move. Cuban confirmed Wednesday that he had sold several properties to the buyers of the Mavs, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The primary property, a 108-acre plot in the Dallas suburb of Irving, is located across from the site of the former Texas Stadium, which was used by the Dallas Cowboys. The properties, which contain a building used for the Mavs’ practice facility, are valued at $42.9 million for tax purposes, according to the Morning News.

An affiliate of Sands Corp. also made two smaller land purchases from Cuban in the area, the newspaper reported.

Although the Texas House of Representatives passed a Sands-backed bill that sought to legalize casino gambling last May, similar measures died in the Senate. The House passed a separate bill last spring that centered on legalizing Texas sports betting, which also did not see Senate action.

Since the Texas Legislature only meets every two years, proponents of sports betting and casino gambling will have to wait until at least 2025 before a new effort could be made to legalize them in the Lone Star State.

Ranked as one of the largest global casino companies by revenue just four years ago, Sands sold its Venetian and Palazzo properties on the Las Vegas Strip in 2022. While Sands owns several major casino properties in Asia, the corporation does not currently operate a casino in the U.S. Last month, a New York appellate court denied a request from Nassau County to keep a loan agreement in place with Sands, presenting a setback to the company’s hopes for a $4 billion downstate New York casino project.

Sands maintains a heavy lobbying presence in Texas, where it spent millions of dollars on more than 60 government relations staffers last year. There has been wide speculation that the Adelson family’s acquisition of the Mavericks is part of an overall plan to win gambling expansion in Texas.

“When you get a world-class partner who can come in and grow your revenue base and you’re not dependent on things that you were in the past, that’s a huge win,” Cuban told reporters last week, upon the approval of the sale. “Patrick and Miriam, they’re the best in the world at what they do. Literally, around the world.”

A company set up by the families has purchased more than a dozen acres directly across I-35 from American Airlines Center.

MORE » https://t.co/gj9o1mbNQW pic.twitter.com/Zi9pALXNuR

— Front Office Sports (@FOS) January 4, 2024

Cuban, who will retain a 27% stake in the Mavs, expressed relative indifference to the prospect of legal sports betting sites in Texas compared to the potential for more lucrative expansion opportunities.

“Honestly, I don’t care so much about sports betting,” Cuban added. “If you look at destination resorts and casinos, the casino part of it is tiny, relative to the whole bigger destination aspect of it. Could you imagine building the Venetian in Dallas? That would just change everything.”

He stated previously of efforts to pass casino legislation in the state that he would be “as active as I need to be, because I think it’s the right thing for the state of Texas.”

The Adelson and Dumont families are not the first NBA owners with casino ties. Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta owns several casino properties through his Golden Nugget portfolio. Legislation enacted in 2019 in New Jersey allowed the Golden Nugget to accept most NBA bets, as long as the book does not take action on the Rockets.

Prior to the launch of Fanatics Sportsbook last year, meanwhile, Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin divested his stakes in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

While Cuban and the Adelsons might hope for Dallas to have a resort-style casino property with a new NBA arena, such a project will face hurdles from an anti-gambling faction in Texas. Efforts to legalize casino gambling have been opposed by Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, who oversees the state Senate. After the families announced the Mavs’ purchase, Patrick indicated the Senate still isn’t close to having enough votes to approve gambling expansion legislation.

— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) December 27, 2023

Developing any new NBA arena would be subject to league approval, which is covered explicitly in the NBA’s constitution and bylaws. Two WNBA franchises, the Las Vegas Aces and the Connecticut Sun, play their home games in the vicinity of casino properties. The Aces, the two-time defending WNBA champs, play in a venue adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Expo Center, a facility that is a lengthy walk from the resort’s casino floor.




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