Dallas Mavericks Ownership Launches Petition to Legalize Texas Casino Gambling

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 7, 2024 08:00 PM
Dallas Mavericks Ownership Launches Petition to Legalize Texas Casino Gambling

A petition recently launched in partnership with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks majority owner, Las Vegas Sands Corp, would legalize the commercialization of Texas casinos

The move, which was considered inevitable, would also open the door for the legalization of sports betting in Texas. As always, though, the question remains the same: Will this attempt to bring casinos to the Lone Star State be successful? Or will it, like the many other tries before it, fall flat?

Full Details on the Petition to Legalize Texas Casinos

Steven Santana of the Laredo Morning Times reporting on the most recent Texas gambling development:

“A group backed by a major Las Vegas casino company is still pushing Texas legislators to legalize casino gambling in the Lone Star State after last year's proposed changes to gaming laws failed to pass. The group, called the Texas Destination Resort Alliance (TDRA), has launched an online campaign asking Texans to sign a petition calling on lawmakers to legalize casinos. The group is backed by multibillion-dollar casino company Las Vegas Sands, which currently operates resorts in Macau and Singapore, according to its website, but it used to own and operate The Venetian, The Palazzo, and the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The company is still headquartered in Las Vegas.

‘Show Texas lawmakers that you support the expansion of gaming – and all of its benefits – in Texas,’ the petition reads. ‘By signing the petition, you’re joining a broad coalition of Texans calling for a more prosperous, secure future for our state.’”

The launch of this petition comes just after Las Vegas Sands started heavily rooting itself to the Lone Star State. After purchasing a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks, they then bought the chunk of real estate on which the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys home-field venue once stood. The land in question is near the American Airlines Center, the current home to both the Mavericks and NHL’s Dallas Stars. 

The hope, it seems, is to create a resort-style environment anchored by casinos, hotels, restaurants, shopping experiences and, uniquely, professional sporting events. If this vision pans out, Texas would immediately have the closest approximation to the Las Vegas strip, beating out even the setup in Atlantic City.

Will The Lone Star State’s Casino Petition Generate Enough Support?

When it comes to garnering enough signatures for the Texas casino petition, Las Vegas Sands should not have any issues. Multiple polls over the past few years have shown that a majority of residents in the Lone Star State support some form of gaming expansion. 

Still, getting the necessary signatures from constituents is only part of the hurdle. This attempt is unlikely to get off the ground without support from the House of Representatives or Senate. And that’s much less of a given. It might even be an ultra-long shot.

Just last year, two separate measures that would have expanded laws for Texas casinos and sports betting failed to make it on to this November’s upcoming electoral ballot. Though there was plenty of support among House members, the issues invariably lost steam once they got to the Senate. 

Of course, that roadblock was eminently predictable. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is among the strongest opponents of allowing online sportsbooks in the United States to enter the Texas market. Now, his stance on Texas casinos is murkier. 

At the same time, it probably aligns with his thoughts on sports betting. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks Texas can legalize one without immediately or eventually green lighting the other.

Given how much influence Mr. Patrick and the Senate at large have levied over the issues of Texas casinos and sports betting, it’s tough to imagine this petition successfully circumventing them. Sure, it’s possible. And it has been done. It’s also incredibly difficult.

The Road to Amending Laws on Texas Casinos and Sports Betting Still Probably Runs Through the House and Senate

Just ask the pro sports franchises attempting to spearhead the legalization of Missouri sports betting. In response to repeated filibusters from Senator Denny Hoskins over the years, the Show Me State’s pro sports organizations have banded together in an effort to legalize online sports betting without needing majority support from the Senate. 

At this writing, we don’t know how that push will pan out. But many are skeptical it will have any legs. Constitutional amendments are typically required to legalize sports betting in the United States. Working around that is exceedingly rare. Unless it actually happens, there’s little reason to believe Texas casino and sports betting laws will become an exception.

To that end, the higher-stakes attempt will likely come in 2025. That’s when the Texas legislature next convenes. If they hammer out a bi-partisan bill that legalizes Texas casinos and sportsbooks, it can appear on the 2026 electoral ballot. And at that point, the decision would lie with the Lone Star State’s voters. 

Will Las Vegas Sands’ petition actually be successful? Could Texas legalize casinos without also launching legal sports betting? Is the inverse even possible? If the petition fails, will there be an appetite in the House and Senate to address the matter themselves next year? Or will opposition to the expansion of gaming laws persist? Good luck predicting how or when this matter ends. Odds are, though, it’s not reaching a resolution anytime soon.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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