Mark Cuban Sees Destination Casinos As Key To Boosting Texas Tourism

Written By TJ McBride on November 6, 2023
Photo of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on a story about his plan wanting to bring resort casinos to Texas.

Mark Cuban has a vision of a Las Vegas-style destination casino in Dallas. It would include a new Dallas Mavericks arena in the dead center of it all.

In Cuban’s mind, this would not only be a big boost for the Mavericks organization he owns and the fans of the team, but also for the city and state of Texas. Cuban says Texas tourism suffers from a lack of destination centers that draw in tourists. Destination casinos would be a game-changer, Cuban says.

Unfortunately, most Texas lawmakers continue to show an unwillingness to pass any bill expanding gaming. Could Cuban’s efforts change that?

Cuban infers that he would build new arena if casinos were legal

Texas has no commercial casinos. Texas online casinos are also illegal. There are three Texas tribal casinos, but each offers limited gaming options. Most Texans who want to gamble at a casino cross into neighboring states to do so. Several millions of dollars every year are spent by Texans gambling in Oklahoma, in Louisiana and in New Mexico.

Despite failed efforts in the past to make commercial casinos legal in Texas, Cuban remains steadfast.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Cuban said:

“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.”

The American Airlines Center, home to the Mavericks and NHL’s Dallas Stars, was built in 2001. Despite the arena being more than 20 years old, Cuban has been noncommittal on building a new facility. If Texas approved a destination casino in Dallas, however, Cuban says he would jump at the opportunity to build a new sports center.

Cuban says destination casinos are vital in Texas to boost tourism.

“When you think of all the places you want to save up to vacation, Texas is not one of them. There’s no real destination that you save up for. That’s a problem, and I think resort gaming would have a huge impact.

“Texas is such an amazing state that we need to be a destination. And this is the way to do it. And partnering with the Sands Corporation, literally there’s no reason why we can’t build a huge resort destination in the city proper of Dallas. There’s plenty of places to do it.”

Alvarado welcomes Cuban’s support to legalize casinos in Texas

Texas state Sen. Carol Alvarado has been trying to pass a gaming bill since 2008. She says having someone like Cuban in favor of destination casinos is music to her ears.

“I welcome him to the arena of this discussion. Having somebody like Mark Cuban on board certainly gives a boost of enthusiasm to the effort. Hopefully, he’ll use his clout and resources to help get us across the finish line. He is a smart businessman. He realizes the opportunity and potential that gaming has.”

Last December, Cuban first announced his goal of bringing a destination casino to Dallas that would feature a new home arena for the Mavs. Nothing has changed since then. Regrettably, that includes legislation on expanding gambling in the state.

Gaming bills continue to be shut down without much progress. Cuban is now trying to get lawmakers to share his vision that destination casinos go well beyond gambling.

“There’s a reason why Vegas is Vegas. And it’s not just gambling. There’s gambling in a lot of places. It’s the fact there’s resorts for families, for bachelorette and bachelor parties, for conventions. If you create a new arena, whether it’s for us, for us and the Stars or whatever it may be, and you make that a centerpiece? How cool would that be?”

Texas lawmakers seem to prefer sports betting over casinos

Texas sports betting legislation has done better than casino gambling bills. House Bill 2843, which would have legalized resort-style casinos, never made it out of committee in 2023. The same goes for Senate Joint Resolution 17 filed by Alvarado, which sought the same.

A sports betting bill actually made its way through the House in 2023 before being killed in the Senate after no action was taken. It was the first time a bill to legalize sports betting in Texas had gotten that far. That means sports betting legalization has a better chance of passing as opposed to a destination casino bill.

Cuban, though, says legalizing just sports betting leaves millions of dollars on the table. Revenue comes only from wagering. A destination casino would not only bring in tax dollars from gaming but significant money from ancillary entities.

“Online gambling’s great because it’s fun for fans and everything. But the reality is that a bunch of politicians in Texas have already said that mobile gaming only moves the needle a little bit. But destination resort casinos? That’s billions of dollars to the state. Big difference.”

The next casino gambling bill can’t be brought forward until 2025, when the Texas Legislature next reconvenes. Even if the bill made it through the Senate and House, it would still have to be passed by voters in November 2025.

Photo by Emil T. Lippe/Associated Press
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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver, Colorado who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer and the current gaming landscape in Texas. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report, and others.

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