The Adelsons aren’t the first casino owners to purchase a majority stake in an NBA franchise. But they could be the first to get Texas legislators to allow casinos.
DALLAS — To become a billionaire, so they say, you have to be willing to take a gamble or two.
And Mavs owner Mark Cuban has been very public in the past that he believes his own next gamble is — literally — going to be on gambling.
In the wake of the news breaking the Cuban was looking to sell a majority stake in his Dallas Mavericks to the Adelson family behind the casino conglomerate Las Vegas Sands Corp., speculation that gambling could return to Texas has run rampant.
“What this really does is create an opportunity and a partnership with the Mavericks and the Las Vegas Sands to eventually, whenever Texas passes gaming and legalizes gambling… to open an arena with sports gaming and slots and casinos and everything else that comes along with it,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel said.
“I think a new arena, real estate area and hopefully a future resort casino can replace what we lose in media and fund current and future Mavs,” he said in reference to changes in broadcast revenue. “And I think if resort casinos pass, Dallas becomes a top 5 travel destination in the country.”
The family of Miriam Adelson and her late husband Sheldon Adelson, have been advocating for the same in recent years, lobbying politicians in the process to little success. While some Texas legislators have shown an openness to allowing sports gambling in the state, efforts to legalize casinos in Texas earlier this year failed to make it out of the Texas House of Representatives.
“The Adelsons, the family, has been really playing the long game here,” said Patrick Svitek, a political correspondent with The Texas Tribune. “If you look at this latest development as part of their long game, it makes a lot of sense. They are trying to build momentum for legalized gaming in Texas.”
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, in a statement to WFAA attributed to the Adelson and Dumont families, did not specifically mention those goals.
But other NBA owners could be trying to blaze a similar path.
When word of the Mavs sale first broke on Tuesday, the team was in the middle of playing a game against the Houston Rockets, whose billionaire owner Tillman Fertitta is also the owner of the Louisiana, New Jersey and Las Vegas locations of the Golden Nugget Casinos.
Or, put another way, Las Vegas Sands’ move to control the Mavericks is not unprecedented.
“Their lobby team and people advocating for them at the capitol… they view this as a multi-year, multi-session endeavor,” Svitek said.
Which is to say casinos in Texas could take some time to come to fruition, but the end goal of putting the Mavs and gambling under the same future roof remains.