New Mavs owners with casino ties preach patience with Texas gambling as they plan new arena

DALLAS (AP) — New Dallas Mavericks governor Patrick Dumont is one of two families with casino ties that I bought the club at the end of last yearsays the timing is uncertain as to when legalized gambling might come to Texas.

Dumont also says timing doesn’t matter when it comes to the prospects of a new arena that would include a casino, because his family and that of the widow of Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Sheldon Adelson are committed to Dallas for the long term.

“We’re patient,” Dumont said Friday in his first meeting with reporters since the purchase in December, hours before the Mavs were eliminated in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against Boston. “We think long term. We are not people who think in the short term.

Dumont is the son-in-law of Miriam Adelson, who is still the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands even after selling $2 billion in stock to take majority ownership of the Mavericks from Mark Cuban.

For the first few months after the $3.5 billion purchase, Dumont and Adelson were occasional visitors to the field during home games.

As the club accelerated through the playoffs and won three series to reach the Finals for the first time in 13 years, Dumont – who lives in the Las Vegas area – became a constant presence, joined occasionally by his wife. mother. .

“It’s been a hard-fought year, hard-fought playoffs, despite how far we’ve had to go,” Dumont said of the Mavs, fifth in the Western Conference and a lower seed in all four playoff series. series. “It’s been amazing to be a part of it, but we’re also looking to the future.”

Cuban, outspoken with a hands-on approach during his nearly 24 years as owner, is now the alternate governor. The 65-year-old still attends almost every game and still sits near the Dallas bench.

Once the sale is completed, Cuban said he would have a strong voice in basketball operations. But he was not mentioned in press releases announcing the recent contract extensions of general manager Nico Harrison and coach Jason Kidd.

The Mavs went from one of the worst franchises in sports in the 1990s to perennial qualifiers for the playoffs under Cuba, winning the franchise’s only championship in 2011.

Cuban was honored by the Adelson family at a 2017 gala in Las Vegas, and Miriam Adelson spoke highly of him at the event.

“I’ve known Mark for a very long time,” Dumont said without addressing details of Cuban’s role in basketball decisions. “And he and I have always had a great relationship. And so I love having him involved in the team. I think his record is valid.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the change in ownership and the relationship between all parties “is going very well.”

“Patrick appreciates Mark’s continued commitment, especially on the basketball operations side where he has been very active for many years,” Silver said.

Casino gaming faces significant hurdles in Texas as leaders of the Republican-controlled state Legislature say they don’t believe most voters want to gamble, and that it doesn’t. It is therefore not a priority for legislators.

Even though the proposals made during the last legislative session in 2023 went further than before, there is still a long way to go. The Legislature meets every two years, meaning there are four additional regular sessions before the American Airlines Center lease expires in 2031.

“When we bought the Mavericks, we weren’t really thinking about casino games,” Dumont said. “Dallas is a great community. It’s a growing economy. This is very positive for business. So when we had the opportunity to bring Mark to the Mavericks, it was an easy decision. »

Dumont believes the area is somewhat lacking as a tourist destination. Although Las Vegas Sands no longer has a casino operation in the Nevada desert, it has five properties in the Chinese gaming enclave of Macau and one in Singapore.

“If you look at what we do, we are grassroots developers and we develop tourism assets for business and leisure tourism,” Dumont said. “We think this is a really good opportunity, not only for us, but for the tourism industry as a whole. Today, in this context, we need casino games because of the scale of our investments.

A major player in the Republican Party, Adelson pumped more than $2 million last year into a political action committee, called Texas Sands, that made generous donations to state lawmakers and invaded the state Capitol controlled by GOP lobbyists.

“It’s something we’re thinking about and working on,” Dumont said. “We spend a lot of time explaining to people what that means in terms of investment, the scale of those investments. In time, I hope we will succeed.


AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this story.



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