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The NBA Board of Governors has approved the sale of the Dallas Mavericks from Mark Cuban to the families that control Las Vegas Sands Corp. The sale was originally announced a month ago; the families of Dr. Miriam Adelson – the wife of the late Sheldon Adelson – and Sivan and Patrick Dumont agreed to acquire the franchise at an estimated $3.5 billion valuation.

Dumont, who is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands and Adelson’s son-in-law, will be the Mavericks’ governor. It is a sweet deal for Cuban, known to most non-sports fans for his decade-and-a-half stint on the television show Shark Tank, as he not only makes billions from the deal, but will also maintain control of basketball operations.

Forbes values the Mavs at $4.5 billion, so it might have been an underpay, but Cuban getting to continue to run the team may have factored into the price.

This may be part of Cuban’s long-term goal of building a broader entertainment district, complete with a new arena and casino. Casino gambling is not legal in Texas, but Cuban seems to be planning ahead. He has had a relationship with the Adelsons for years, including being presented with the In Pursuit of Excellence Award by them at a scholarship fundraiser in 2017.

In 2022, he 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.”

Though Sheldon Adelson was public enemy number one to online poker while he was alive and made it his mission to prevent its legalization in the United States, he, Miram, and their company have long pushed for casino gambling expansion.

Miriam Adelson contributed $2 million to a PAC called Texas Sands last year, which in turn donated to state lawmakers and paid lobbyists to try to get casinos legalized in the state. She also contributed $1 million to Republican Governor Greg Abbott. The Adelsons have been among the country’s largest GOP sources of funding for decades.

Despite the illegality of casino gambling in Texas, it is shaping up to the be quite a state for the union between the NBA and casino moguls. In 2017, Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta acquired the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion.

Fertitta was also one of the original investors in the NFL’s Houston Texans, but was required to sell his stake in the team in 2008 because of league rules that prevent employees or owners from being associated with gambling.

Image credit: Flickr.com / Michael Tipton

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