The Mark and Miriam Team

December 3, 2023 11:17 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Ken Adams, CDC Gaming Reports
December 3, 2023 11:17 AM
  • Ken Adams, CDC Gaming Reports

Is there a new celebrity romance in the making, a teaming up of a like-minded couple?  Are Mark Cuban and Miriam Adelson in love? It could happen. In a world where a world pop star loves a football player, an American actress marries a royal prince, and the president of Russia fathers children with a former Olympic gymnast, theoretically anything is possible. Whether Cuban and Adelson are in love or not, they are going to marry, sort of.

Adelson, the widow of Sheldon Adelson, creator of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and political kingmaker who died in 2021, has sold $2 billion worth of her Sands stock to to fund a reported $3.5 billion purchase of a majority stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks from Cuban. Cuban will retain operational control of the team; they will be partners in basketball if not more. When the news broke opinions in the media sprouted like weeds in a vacant lot.

The first came from Las Vegas where a local booster thought the partnership was great for Vegas: the Mavericks would be moving to Sin City and play in a resort built by the Las Vegas Sands. In a comment on another article speculating on Cuban’s strategy a reader wrote that Cuban was a great seller: the team would move to Vegas and triple in value, clearly a brilliant move on his part. Cuban has already done pretty well with the Mavericks. He bought the team from Ross Perot Jr. in 2000 for $285 million; Forbes put a $4.5 billion value on the team in October.

The Austin American-Statesman took another tack and speculated on the possibility that after selling the team, Cuban might run for president. The article cited the odds at 80-1, down from 250-1 the day before the Adelson announcement. Ever humble, Cuban says he has no intention of running for president, at least not in 2024.

However, the predominant theory puts a Sands casino resort in Dallas where the Mavericks would play. In December 2022, Cuban told the Dallas Morning News: “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.”  Several years ago, Cuban said Texas was a great state, but it needed something extra to make it a destination, and a casino resort would supply the missing element.

Cuban, Adelson, and a slew of other people in Texas have been working on the idea for at least 15 years. Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, has been introducing casino legislation since 2008. Her 2023 bill was essentially the same as her 2021 proposal and seemingly like the others she has sponsored. She promises to bring forth another bill in the next legislative session in 2025.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation has been lobbying for a casino in Texas for at least 10 years, spending several million dollars on the effort each legislative session. Alvarado, Adelson and Cuban need something to push them over line. A multi-billion dollar mega-resort with a sports arena in Dallas might be the push they need. Although nothing is different, Sheldon Adelson and the corporate management of LVS have been offering to build a giant resort that would enhance the reputation of Dallas and Texas and be a true destination for tourists from this county and abroad.

The only difference is that now LVS is not a foreign invader, but a tried and true Texan. It might also be an advantage that the Adelson family are staunch and generous supporters of the Republican Party. That alone might soften the stance of the adamantly anti-gambling Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, who presides over the state senate.

Sands has always promised to be very good citizen, willing, ready, and able to do whatever would improve the image, culture, and conditions of Dallas and Texas. But critics always said the company would simply shuffle its profits to Las Vegas, or worse, now that there is no Las Vegas Sands casino in Las Vegas, off to China. Owning the Mavericks might end that line of criticism.

Las Vegas Sands has a national strategy. It is also very much interested in a New York City-area license, committed to a massive resort-entertainment complex on the site of the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. A casino in Dallas and one on Long Island would be a pretty good pair. With its operations in Macau and Singapore, LVS would be a powerhouse. Ah, but we must not put the cart before the horse.

The first order of business will be to convince legislators in Texas to put a constitutional amendment on the state ballot. That process would take several years, even without the interference of the entrenched anti-gambling forces in Texas. In the meantime, if LVS wins a New York casino license, its plate will be full. Maybe Mark could buy the New York Knicks and partner with Miriam in that resort. It could be the perfect marriage of sports and casinos, the Mark and Miriam team.