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Friday, March 1, 2024

Blockbuster Mavs-Cuban Deal Puts Dallas Casino Complex In Spotlight

  • Deal valuing NBA team at about $3.5 billion premised on arena-casino development.
  • Gambling legalization in Texas has failed to progress, but hopes of passage in 2025 are higher.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban celebrates court side behind Luka Doncic
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Cuban’s landmark deal to sell a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson has what is perhaps an even bigger underlying vision: the development of a new arena and casino complex in Dallas. 

The agreement, valuing the Mavericks at about $3.5 billion, will see the serial entrepreneur and outgoing “Shark Tank” star transfer majority control of the NBA team to Adelson — the casino billionaire widow of Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Sheldon Adelson — while Cuban retains oversight of the team’s basketball operations. A closing is projected by the end of the year, subject to league approvals.

But the agreement is also premised on jumpstarting a long-discussed plan to construct a successor to American Airlines Center, the 22-year-old arena the Mavericks share with the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

“My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena, it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino. That’s the mission,” Cuban said in December 2022.

Nearly a year later, Cuban reconfirmed his intent, telling KXAS-TV’s Newy Scruggs that Adelson and Sands are “coming in to … build a new arena, which will hopefully be a Venetian-like resort here in Dallas. That’s the goal.”

Opportunities And Obstacles

Texas is a highly coveted locale for casino and sports betting operators, boasting a population of over 30 million that ranks second only to California among American states. Major cities such as Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio additionally present the opportunity to build gambling destinations in large, vibrant markets.

But legislators in the Lone Star State have consistently resisted both sports betting and casinos. This past spring, the Texas Senate declined to consider casino and sports betting measures.

Nevertheless, the issue of legalized gambling is expected to be picked back up in 2025 — Texas lawmakers meet in alternating years — with increased hopes of passage.

Cuban, meanwhile, has downplayed speculation that he will now campaign for U.S. president with his status in the Mavericks changing, telling NBC News he has “no plans” to run for office.

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