Cuban Eyes Casino Near Arena Amid Texas Sports Betting Push

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Texas sports betting

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has visions of building a casino near his arena, as the state makes another attempt at legalizing Texas sports betting.

Cuban told the Dallas Morning News that he would like to partner with Las Vegas Sands to build a resort and casino to surround the Mavs’ next arena.

Meanwhile, there are rumblings within sports betting industry circles that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick surprisingly could be willing to have a Texas sports betting bill advance in the 2023 state legislative session

“I have not been working feverishly,” Cuban told LSR via email. “But there are organizations that are, for sure.” 

Patrick key to Texas sports betting

Two sources told LSR that Patrick, who previously opposed sports betting in the state, could be amenable to a standalone, online TX sports betting bill. Patrick’s office did not respond to phone and email messages from LSR seeking comment. 

“I’ve heard he’s interested in mobile-only,” one source said. 

“(He) would support online-only. No retail,” a second source added. 

A third source said it wasn’t clear whether it would be a standalone bill or part of a larger casino package, but felt individual legislation had a better chance of passing.

Patrick could be the biggest roadblock in the process short of Gov. Greg Abbott. He previous threw cold water on gaming expansion efforts during the 2021 session.

Patrick, Perry reportedly close

The Sports Betting Alliance, a lobbying group pushing to legalize and regulate online sports betting on behalf of sportsbooks and professional sports teams in Texas, recently hired former Gov. Rick Perry as a spokesperson. 

Conservative legislators Patrick and Perry are close friends, the Austin-American Statesman reported. Perry, however, changed his anti-gambling expansion stance from his days in office, to an extent. 

The ex-governor wants Texas to realize an estimated $250 million in annual tax revenues from online sports betting. He also wants residents and visitors to stop betting illegally or legally in other states. 

“I’m not in favor of expansion of gambling,” Perry told the Dallas Morning News. “If someone stands up and says, ‘This is an expansion of gambling,’ that is an erroneous statement. It’s not. This is a regulation of something that’s going on, and it’s not going to go away.”

Alliance for Texas sports betting

The Sports Betting Alliance is hopeful that Patrick will change his tune as well. 

“I’d certainly hope that the Lt. Gov. Would be willing to give us a chance to do this,” SBA spokesperson Cara Gustafson told LSR. “And I do think that now that he’s had a lot more time to get to know us, he definitely understands our efforts and our legislation more than anyone did in 2021.”

Given its population and fandom, the sports betting industry would certainly like the opportunity to access a legal Texas market. 

“I think that Texas is the next frontier,” lobbyist Bill Pascrell told LSR at the NCLGS conference in Las Vegas. “And I know what the lieutenant governor has said. But I also know the lieutenant governor is a very smart guy, and Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban, Tilman Fertitta and other owners not so well-known are working feverishly with the lieutenant governor. And with Gov. (Greg) Abbott — their session is coming up soon — I think that’s the next frontier.” 

Texas sports betting bill framework

An online TX sports betting bill would provide market access via the state’s professional teams, who already have sportsbook partnerships. It would be largely similar to the 2021 bill, with the same 10% tax rate

Jones’ Dallas Cowboys, Cuban’s Mavericks and Fertitta’s Houston Rockets are all part of the SBA, alongside several other pro teams and DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM and Barstool Sportsbook. 

Fertitta, in particular, has significant gaming interests. Earlier this year, he bought land on the Las Vegas Strip with plans to build an upscale casino. The Golden Nugget owner also has a 6% stake in Wynn Resorts

The alliance website lists three reasons TX should regulate and legalize sports betting: 

TX sports betting timing

Texas state legislative session begins Jan. 10, 2023

Any gaming legislation would change the TX state constitution, requiring two-thirds votes in both chambers of the legislature and then approval by voters via a simple majority at the polls in November 2023

“Our next steps will be the bill filing itself, and announcing exactly the language, as well as the author,” Gustafson said. “And due to how the legislature works, we likely won’t announce that — or even be at that stage — until late January, early February.”

Next steps for Texas sports betting

Texas voters ultimately will decide whether sports betting is legalized in Texas. 

“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk by any means,” an industry insider said. “It’s a major state that’s going to take a major effort.”

Sports betting could get some conservative opposition, and tribes could also get involved. 

“(Tribal) concerns will and have been considered, so we intend to work with them as well since they’re another big party that would be impacted by the legalization of online sports betting,” Gustafson said.

Another attempt in Austin

In mid-November, Sen. Carol Alvarado pre-filed what was essentially a vague casino bill. 

“I welcome him to the arena of this discussion,” Alvarado told the DMN. “Having somebody like Mark Cuban on board certainly gives a boost of enthusiasm to the effort. Hopefully, he’ll use his clout and resources to help get us across the finish line.”

Alliance neutral on casinos

Gustafson said the SBA is neutral on casinos.

“It’s not our issue,” she said.