Co-owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks seeks to bring the game to Texas

As Game 3 of the NBA Finals began at American Airlines Center on Wednesday, Patrick Dumont, the new co-owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sat courtside amid a pantheon of Texas athletic elite.

To his right: former NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, and three-time Super Bowl champion Emmitt Smith. Nearby, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who played high school and college football in Texas, was also cheering.

Dumont, president of gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. and son-in-law of billionaire Miriam Adelson, bought a majority stake in the Mavs with his family late last year from Mark Cuban. The deal valued the franchise at $3.5 billion. Since then, he has been a regular at games and is warmly adjusting to his new home away from home.

“I don’t think there are many cities in America where you can show up and everyone is warm and welcoming,” Dumont said at the team’s practice facility before Game 4 against the Boston Celtics, who dominated the series and pushed Dallas to win. . on the brink of elimination. The Mavs ended up winning, 122-84, although no NBA team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit in the playoffs. “There’s a lot of pride in being a Texan and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

The purchase of the Mavs marked the family’s effort to deepen its ties in the state, including Sands’ desire to build casinos that will bring dollars and jobs to Texas. But in a state that has resisted gambling efforts for years, Dumont said he and his family are ready to play the long game.

“We really want to be in the state of Texas,” the 49-year-old said, referring to LVS and casino gaming. “We believe this is a great investment opportunity and we are here for the long term. “We’re going to continue to talk about the merits of what this means for the state of Texas and how it can benefit the communities where these resorts will be located.”

Meanwhile, the basketball business is booming and Dallas is in the midst of a professional sports renaissance. The Texas Rangers won baseball’s World Series last year. The Dallas Stars reached the NHL Western Conference Finals. And the Mavs exceeded the expectations of many basketball experts. The city was on the short list to host the World Cup final in 2026 and will host the largest number of matches.

The NBA is close to signing new long-term broadcast deals that would pay the league about $76 billion over 11 years, three times its current deal. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the Finals that the league will look to expand, possibly overseas, after completing new negotiations over television rights. Las Vegas and Seattle are considered favorites for new NBA franchises. Mexico City is also a contender. The WNBA has seen a surge of interest after Caitlin Clark joined the league.

“The NBA is a multifaceted business,” Dumont said, sitting in the team’s “Real MVP Conference Room,” where research for the upcoming NBA draft was to be kept secret. “It’s a media business, a hospitality business and a culinary business. It’s about experience. “Those are the kinds of things we do well and believe we can contribute to the city of Dallas.”

All of that makes owning a team in one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S. more attractive. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is building a new campus that will house about 5,000 employees in Dallas. BlackRock Inc. and Citadel Securities are among investors backing a new Texas stock exchange. The Dallas-Fort Worth area now has more financial workers than Chicago or Los Angeles, trailing only New York.

“The state is growing for a reason,” he said. “There are good schools. There are good communities. People are working hard. “A lot of companies are trying to move here now because they realize that not all states are run this way.”

Behind the scenes, the Adelson family is already laying the groundwork to face an immense political challenge to legalize gambling in Texas. The family recruited an army of lobbyists and increased its political spending. Since 2022, Adelson has invested $16.5 million in Texas campaigns and political action committees, Texas Ethics Commission records show.

That level of spending shouldn’t be at risk given Adelson’s deep pockets. With a net worth of $33.1 billion, the 78-year-old widow of Sands founder Sheldon Adelson is one of the 50 richest people on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

This year, the Texas Legislature rejected bills that would have legalized online and casino gambling. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who controls the legislation in the state Senate, has said he will not bring the vote to a vote unless it has Republican support.

There are some early signs that the political tides are turning. About 75% of Texans support legislation to bring casino-style resorts to Texas, according to a January 2023 poll by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. And a Republican-backed bill proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing casino gambling at destination resorts emerged from a House committee last year, a first for Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who received $1 million in campaign contributions from Adelson in 2022, has also signaled openness toward casinos.

“The question is how to do it in a way that’s right for Texas,” Dumont said. “How do you approach sports betting? How do you deal with games? How do you ensure you get the tourism benefit? “That’s really what the discussion is about.”

For now, Dumont and his family have the support of other Texas tycoons.

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Golden Nugget casinos, has spent years advocating for Texas to join dozens of other states in allowing Las Vegas-style casino resorts, arguing they would spur job growth and would attract more tourist dollars. to restaurants, shops and hotels.

“Let’s do something to bring tourism, business travelers and conventions to Texas, and these need to be billion-dollar properties that do that,” he said in an interview in February. “We need to do it right and build casinos, and not have a bunch of slot machines in every little grocery store.”

Cuban, who still owns a minority stake in the Mavs and provides advice to the team, has talked about the potential for real estate developments anchored by a casino and stadium.

“When you think of all the places you want to save for a vacation, Texas isn’t one of them,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News at the time of the sale to the Adelson clan. “There is no real destination you should save for. “That’s a problem and I think resort gaming would have a big impact.”

There is still a lot of opposition. Rob Kohler, a lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission, the public policy arm of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, has been fighting gambling in the state for more than two decades.

“There’s been a lot of noise about how much the Adelsons have spent,” he said in an interview. “But they are not the first rich people who have tried to expand gambling. “If it’s the amount of money being spent, Texas would have gambling expansion a long time ago.”

For now, Dumont says he’s focused on helping the team win.

“I have a responsibility to ensure the team’s success,” he said. “I can’t give a roadmap for exactly what that will mean, but my goal is to be there and help the Mavericks be successful in the championships.”

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