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Mark Cuban Pitches Dallas Casino Plan

Expanded Gambling In Texas Faces Obstacles

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Mark CubanWhile Texas poker players can now head to one of the state’s numerous poker rooms, those looking for other forms of casino gambling have to head to the neighboring states of Oklahoma, Louisiana, or New Mexico. Mark Cuban is hoping that scenario changes.

The billionaire Shark Tank cast member and owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise reiterated his support last week for bringing a casino to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He envisions a Vegas-style resort as found in other states – like Choctaw or Winstar in Oklahoma that attract many North Texans.

Not only does he envision locals heading to the casino, but also making ‘Big D’ more of a destination for tourists.

“When you think of all the places you want to save up to vacation, Texas isn’t one of them,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. “There’s no real destination that you save up for. That’s a problem and I think resort gaming would have a huge impact.”

Casino Plan Obstacles

Changing Texas gaming law won’t be easy. Casino gaming legislation didn’t advance out of the state legislature this year, and any gaming changes would also need a constitutional amendment, which would entail a statewide vote.

Because the Texas legislature only meets every two years, any other gaming initiatives would have to wait until 2025.

Some legal experts argue that Texas’ poker rooms even violate state law, despite massive growth in recent years.

“I think the poker clubs have some severe legal problems,” gaming expert and attorney I. Nelson Rose noted in a recent blog post. “Arguing that poker, especially poker tournaments, are games of skill – that won’t work in Texas. ‘Gambling’ is defined as playing or betting for money, ‘at any game played with cards.’

“A person commits the crime of ‘gambling promotion,’ if he intentionally or knowingly operates or participates in the earnings of a gambling place. And ‘keeping a gambling place’ is a separate crime.”

Holding Out Hope

The casino issue hits close to home for Cuban. He envisions building a new complex for the Mavericks that includes a casino.

“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,” Cuban said. “That’s the mission.”

The state has at least seen some movement toward gaming in recent years. An effort to legalize sports betting failed this year, but Gov. Greg Abbott® has expressed some support for gambling possibilities.

“We don’t want slot machines at every corner store, we don’t want Texans to be losing money that they need for everyday expenses, and we don’t want any type of crime that could be associated with gaming,” Abbott’s press secretary Renae Eze told the Houston Chronicle last year. “But, if there is a way to create a very professional entertainment option for Texans, Gov. Abbott would take a look at it.”