The acquisition of the majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks by Dr. Miriam Adelson and the Miriam Adelson Trust has sparked renewed hope for the possibility of commercial casinos in Texas. However, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who has been an opponent of gaming expansion in the state, has cast doubt on the prospects for such legislation.
In a recent interview with CBS News, Patrick expressed skepticism about the possibility of gathering enough votes to advance casino legislation to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. Despite the acquisition of the Mavericks by Adelson and owner Mark Cuban’s support for casino gaming in Texas, Patrick maintains that the votes are not there to move the issue forward.
Las Vegas Sands, in which Adelson is the largest shareholder, has been lobbying Texas politicians to advance the casino issue. However, the process of getting gaming expansion on the ballot in Texas requires amending the state constitution with two-thirds majorities in the State House and Senate, presenting a significant hurdle.
Some in the gaming industry view the concept of gaming venues in Texas as a long shot, as Texas does not necessarily need the revenue that expanded gaming would provide. However, influential figures such as Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones, and Tilman Fertitta have expressed support for casinos and sports wagering in the state.
The Texas legislature is currently in the midst of a fourth special session, and unless a fifth is called, it is not scheduled to convene next year. Patrick suggested that February could be an ideal time for another special session, but other pressing issues such as property tax relief and cost-of-living increases for retired teachers may take precedence.
With the Texas House failing to pass election integrity and school choice bills, there may be indications that gaming expansion bills won’t reappear until 2025 at the earliest. Despite the optimism generated by the Mavericks acquisition, the prospects for commercial casinos in Texas remain uncertain.