Tribal Leaders in Oklahoma Voice Worries About Mavericks Sale

Tribal Leaders in Oklahoma Concerned About Sale of Dallas Mavericks

Tribal leaders in Oklahoma with stakes in Indian casinos are expressing concerns about the recent announcement that Texas billionaire Mark Cuban is selling a majority interest in his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, to the largest individual shareholder of Las Vegas Sands. Dr. Miriam Adelson, the widow of the founder of Las Vegas Sands, will become the chief owner of the Mavericks, raising worries among Oklahoma tribal leaders about the potential expansion of gaming into Texas.

During an episode of “The New Normal” with host Victor Rocha, Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Jason Giles and Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chair Matthew Morgan shared their apprehensions about the impact of Cuban giving up his majority control of the NBA franchise. Cuban has been an advocate for ending the prohibition on commercial casino gambling in Texas and has even proposed bringing a Las Vegas-style casino resort to Dallas, possibly in partnership with Sands.

Sands has been trying to lobby for casino gambling in Texas without much success in recent years. However, with Dr. Miriam Adelson’s ownership of the Mavericks, there are questions about whether her influence might be able to sway more state lawmakers in favor of the gaming push. Adelson, with a net worth of $31.3 billion, is one of the world’s wealthiest women.

The tribal casinos in Oklahoma heavily rely on players from Texas, and with the potential for casinos to open in Texas, as well as the possible legalization of sports betting in the state, Oklahoma tribes are concerned about preserving their market share. The Choctaw Nation, for example, has tapped into Texas sports legends in the hopes of preparing for the possibility of sports betting, but discussions with Governor Kevin Stitt about a sports betting plan have yet to yield an agreement.

Stitt’s proposed sports betting recommendation includes a 15% tax on tribal sports betting revenue and the allowance of one commercial online sportsbook operator, among other stipulations. The tribes have pushed back on the proposal, arguing that it would effectively end their monopoly on casino gaming.

While Sands has historically shown less enthusiasm for sports betting compared to other major casino operators, it remains unclear where Dr. Miriam Adelson stands on the further expansion of gaming, including the potential entry of Texas into the commercial gaming industry.