Does Mavs Sale Portend Push to Legalize Gambling?

Dr. Miriam Adelson
Dr. Miriam Adelson | Image by Shahar Azran/Getty Images

A casino magnate family has acquired a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks, causing many observers to predict that a renewed and well-funded push to legalize gambling in Texas is imminent.

The buyer is Miriam Adelson and her family, who control the Sands Hotel and Casino empire in Las Vegas. Forbes estimates Adelson’s family wealth at $32.3 billion, making her the fifth-richest woman in the world. Miriam Adelson is the widow of the late GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.

The price for the majority stake in the NBA franchise is a reported $3.6 billion.

There have been several attempts to pass a bill that would permit casino gambling in Texas, which have all ended in defeat. The latest, House Bill 2843, put forth by a Republican in the spring, died in the lower chamber without a vote. Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation was a part of the well-financed lobbying effort to get the bill passed, leading the charge with $3.1 million in campaign donations, including $300,000 to House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), as reported by The Dallas Express.

Mark Cuban, who appears set to sell a majority of his ownership stake in the Mavericks if the NBA gives final approval, has made no secret of his desire to make a new Mavericks arena the center of a massive casino-resort complex, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Though Adelson would have majority ownership, Cuban would maintain control of the Mavericks’ day-to-day operations. The unconventional arrangement is part of why sports pundits and those on social media are speculating that Adelson’s interest in the Mavericks is mostly about legalizing gambling in Texas.

Dallas Mavericks fan content podcast Mavs Film Room posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “As many are correctly pointing out, the Adelson’s [family’s] political influence within the Republican Party as well as gaming industry influence certainly make them strategic partner’s for Mark Cuban’s vision to legalize gambling in Texas and build the casino resort arena.”

Another X poster under the username #FreeHanXu (@avriltrades) said, “The conspiracy theories are completely unhinged. Mark Cuban is doing all of this to bring sports gambling and casinos to Texas. No one voted for it last month, so he needs lobbying money. The new majority owner of the Mavs was married to the man behind Sands Casinos.”

For his part, Cuban told reporters that the reason he sold a majority interest to Adelson was “to put the Mavs in a better position to compete” in the changing media market and claimed that bringing casinos to Texas would be a part of the plan, per WFAA.

“I think if resort casinos pass, Dallas becomes a top five travel destination in the country, which is why I think, at some point, it will.”

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