Patrick Dumont Says Sands Thinking ‘Long Term’ About Texas Legalizing Gambling

Written By Phil West on June 20, 2024 - Last Updated on June 28, 2024
Patrick Dumont of Las Vegas Sands is patient about bringing casinos to Texas

Dallas Mavericks governor Patrick Dumont, the son-in-law of Las Vegas Sands Corp. majority shareholder and Mavericks owner Miriam Adelson, told reporters in an interview last Friday that the company, of which he is president, is realistic about the prospects of legalizing gambling in Texas.

According to the Associated Press’s coverage, Dumont said,

“We’re patient. We think long term. We’re not people who think in the short term.”

He emphasized how important casinos are to the Sands business strategy. The Sands sold off its last two US properties in 2022. A Texas casino in Dallas would be the first since the closure of the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

Dumont and Sands playing a long game in Texas

Dumont and the Texas Sands PAC have kept the conversation around casino expansion alive despite limited interest from the Texas legislature. With the purchase of the Dallas Mavericks, Dumont knows that Las Vegas Sands Corp. now has an even stronger position within the state from which to lobby for casino expansion. Even with firmer political footing, Dumont sees a long road ahead. Speaking about the desire to grow in Texas, Dumont said,

“If you look at what we do, we’re ground-up developers in scale, and we develop tourism assets for both business and leisure tourism. We feel like this is an opportunity that’s very good, not only for us, but for the tourism industry as a whole. Now, as part of that, we need casino gaming because of the scale of our investments.”

He also noted, regarding the decision to purchase the Mavericks and work with current minority owner Mark Cuban, “When we bought the Mavericks, we weren’t really thinking about casino gaming. Dallas is a great community. It’s a growing economy. It’s very positive for business. So when we had the opportunity for Mark with the Mavericks, that was an easy decision.”

However, in a Fortune story published Saturday, Dumont made clear Sands’ interest in legalizing gambling in Texas:

“We really want to be in the state of Texas. We think this is a great investment opportunity and we’re here for the long term. We’re going to keep talking about the virtues of what this means for the state of Texas and how it can benefit the communities that these resorts will be located in.”

Whichever interpretation you may believe, the pathway to casino legalization still faces long odds. Especially in the Texas Senate, the votes are not and have not been there.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who oversees the Senate, recently clarified, “We don’t pass any bills … that have a handful of Republicans and all the Democrats” on board, which likely would be the case with a sports betting bill or casino bill. The Texas Republican Party recently approved a platform expanding its opposition to legal gambling and receiving campaign funds from gambling PACs.

It’s against this bulwark of opposition that Dumont, Adelson, and Las Vegas Sands must contend.

The Adelson’s have donated over $20 mil. to Texas politicians

Adelson and her late husband Sheldon Adelson have donated $21.5 million to Republican candidates in Texas since 2018, including $1.5 million to Gov. Greg Abbott. Miriam Adelson also donated $4.1 million to a Texas political action committee, Texas Sands PAC, which then funneled about $2 million to Texas House candidates, including $200,000 to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who won a runoff in a hotly contested primary.

Despite Adelson’s efforts, expected to include significant lobbying ahead of the Texas Legislature’s 2025 session, both sports gambling and destination resort casinos face steep odds of becoming legal despite polls showing that most Texans want both options to exist.

But Dumont signaled, according to Fortune, that a discussion could still be had. He said, “The question is how to do it in a way that’s right for Texas. How do you deal with sports wagering? How do you deal with gaming? How do you ensure that you get the tourism benefit? That’s really what the discussion is about.”

Texas opposed gambling expansion in the early 2010s when the state had a budget deficit. It has also opposed it in the last two sessions when the state had a surplus. It’s clear that lawmakers won’t pull the trigger on legal gambling in any form just to boost the economy. If Dumont, Adelson, and Sands lobbyists want any chance of succeeding, Texas lawmakers will need a mindset shift. In a state that prides itself on its individuality, that will take some time.

Photo by Sam Hodde / AP Images
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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