In a blockbuster move for the gaming and sports industries, Miriam Adelson, the widow of late casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands (LVS), announced last week that she sold $2 billion worth of LVS stock—the equivalent of about four percent of her overall stake in the company—to go towards the purchase of a majority stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks from longtime owner Mark Cuban.
According to NBC 5 in Dallas, the overall deal is for $3.5 billion and gives the Adelson family a controlling interest in the franchise as well as the right to assume the position of governor. Cuban will retain a minority stake in the team but will also retain full control of basketball operations, which is extremely uncommon for such deals.
Exact details of the transaction have not yet been disclosed, but an Associated Press report said that based on the valuation, Adelson is estimated to have purchased at least 57 percent of the franchise’s operations.
Less than 24 hours before the deal was announced, LVS said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that Adelson would use the stock sale proceeds for the purchase of a sports franchise, but the company did not give any further information.
According to LVS, the deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions as well as approval from the NBA Board of Governors. Adelson’s stake in LVS is now estimated to be 51.3 percent after the sale, and the company is expected to repurchase up to $250 million of the shares that were relinquished.
In a statement, Adelson and family said that they “look forward to partnering with Mark Cuban to build on the team’s success and legacy in Dallas and beyond.”
“The Dallas Mavericks are one of the world’s most successful and recognizable sports franchises,” the statement continued. “The team has won an NBA championship, has a long history of attracting international superstars and has been supported by a dedicated and passionate fanbase and leadership group led by Mark Cuban.”
Despite the fact that the 78-year-old Adelson herself has no connection to the operations of LVS, her son-in-law Patrick Dumont is currently the president and chief operating officer of the multinational operator, and many expect the move to be a precursor to a potential casino development in Dallas, which Cuban expressed interest in many times in the past.
In fact, Cuban even named LVS as his desired partner, telling the Dallas Morning News in December 2022: “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.”
LVS is headquartered in Las Vegas, but the company has no current operations in the U.S. after it sold the Venetian, Palazzo and Venetian Expo to VICI Properties and Apollo Global Management for a total price of $6.25 billion back in early 2022.
Its casino operations now center on Macau and Singapore, but the company is also vying to grab a coveted casino license in New York state with hopes of developing a $4 billion integrated resort there, which would be built at the site of the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island.
However, its efforts were dealt a blow earlier this month, when the Supreme Court of Nassau County nullified the 99-year lease agreement that LVS had previously signed with the county. The court said that the chief reason why the lease was voided was that the plan was pushed through by the county without proper public notice, and with insufficient environmental review.
Despite this, LVS said it would appeal the decision and continue in its efforts.
“Las Vegas Sands is proceeding proudly and enthusiastically with our proposal for an integrated resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub,” the company said in a statement. “We are grateful for the wonderful response we have received from the Long Island community and we will be continuing our very comprehensive outreach as we present this transformational project.”
Now that the company has made inroads into the Texas market via Adelson’s purchase, however, many expect LVS to redouble its lobbying efforts there—in the 2023 legislative session, bills that would have expanded gaming in the state’s four metropolitan areas met staunch opposition from Senate GOP members and ultimately died out.
The Dallas Morning News reported that in the 2023 session alone, LVS hired a total of 63 lobbyists with a mandate to spend up to $5.9 million. In 2022, the company’s political action committee, Texas Sands PAC, gave $2.2 million to statewide officials and dozens of lawmakers from both parties.