Mavericks Sale to Casino Giant Sands Corporation: A Game-Changer for Texas Gambling?

Dallas Mavericks Casino Sands
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The Dallas Mavericks have ushered in a new era with the sale of a majority stake to the Sands Corporation, the powerhouse behind the iconic Las Vegas Sands casino. This strategic alliance not only brings together the worlds of professional basketball and casino enterprise but also ignites speculation about the future of gambling legislation in the Lone Star State.

With Mark Cuban, a proponent of resort gaming in Texas, retaining a 31% stake and control over basketball operations, and the Sands Corporation acquiring a 69% stake in a deal valued just shy of $4 billion, the stage is set for potential seismic shifts in Texas’ gambling regulations. The Sands’ investment in the Mavericks, alongside the Houston Rockets’ owner Tillman Fertitta’s casino interests, positions Texas at the forefront of a burgeoning debate on legalizing casino gambling.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, suggests the Sands’ acquisition is a calculated move, predicated on the anticipation of casino gambling’s legalization in Texas. “The Sands families would not have bought the Mavericks unless they thought that casino gambling was coming in a future that they could see and enjoy,” Jillson remarked.

Despite the enthusiasm from some quarters, Texas remains steadfast in its prohibition of gambling, with lobbyists’ efforts to sway the 2021 legislative session falling short despite a significant financial push. According to Jillson, the decrease in campaign contributions in 2023 signals a need for intensified lobbying efforts to alter the state’s gambling laws.

The implications of such a shift are vast, not only for the NBA teams under casino operators’ ownership but also for potential arena/casino/resort developments. Speculation abounds regarding potential locations for such a project, with sites like the old Reunion Arena and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center redevelopment area emerging as possible contenders. However, the feasibility of these sites meeting the Sands Corporation’s requirements, given their newfound stake in the Mavericks, remains an open question.

With the Texas Legislature not scheduled to reconvene until January 2025, the future of gambling in Texas hangs in the balance. The acquisition by the Sands Corporation could serve as a catalyst for change, potentially paving the way for a gambling-friendly Texas. However, opposition remains, notably from figures like Robert Kohler, a lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist Convention of Texas, who views the sale as part of a broader, yet unsuccessful, trend of gambling entities attempting to penetrate the Texas market.

As Texas stands at a crossroads, the Mavericks sale to the Sands Corporation could either herald a new dawn for gambling in the state or remain a high-stakes gamble that fails to alter the legislative landscape. The unfolding drama promises to keep stakeholders on the edge of their seats as they await the next move in Texas’ gambling saga.