Mavs Fans In Texas Can’t Bet Legally On NBA Finals. Will That Ban End Soon?

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Mavs Fans In Texas Can’t Bet Legally On NBA Finals. Will That Ban End Soon?
© USA Today

The NBA Finals are underway, featuring two teams from states with different laws regarding sports betting — the Dallas Mavericks (Texas) and Boston Celtics (Massachusetts).

Sports betting is legal in Massachusetts and 37 other states but illegal in Texas.

Efforts to expand gaming in Texas have failed in past legislative sessions and can’t be brought back up until lawmakers meet again next year in Austin.

However, a recent story in the Dallas Morning News indicates gaming expansion could be blocked again at the 2025 session.

Betting Odds: Mavs Favored In Game 3

After last Sunday’s  NBA Finals game, the Celtics have gone up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, with the action resuming Wednesday in Dallas. At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Mavericks are favored by 2.5-points in Wednesday’s game. The game is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET, airing on ABC and ESPN. Bettors will be keeping an eye on the news Tuesday that Celtics' center Kristaps Porzingis has suffered a leg injury and is considered day-to-day for the remainder of the champtionship series.

In addition its title run with superstar Luka Doncic, the Mavericks have been in the news for another reason — a change in ownership.

Miriam Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp. has bought controlling interest in the Mavs from previous owner Mark Cuban, though Cuban is continuing to oversee basketball operations. The plan is for the team ultimately to play in an arena-casino complex in North Texas, rather than relocate to Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas-based hotel-casino company, which currently owns resorts in Singapore and Macau but not in Nevada, has unsuccessfully lobbied the Texas Legislature in the past, seeking gaming expansion.

Currently, Las Vegas Sands is financing the Texas Destination Resort Alliance, according to the alliance website. A recent “flash poll” from the alliance is asking whether Texans should “be allowed to decide to bring destination resorts to the Lone Star state.”

State GOP Opposes Gaming Expansion

Any effort to build an arena-casino complex in the Dallas area might not occur for awhile.

As the Dallas Morning News reported, efforts to legalize casino gaming  in Texas “appear to be an even greater long shot in the Legislature next session.”

In a text message to the newspaper, state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Allen, said there won’t be any “meaningful action” on gaming expansion in the House of Representatives next year. The issue would have to gain “momentum” in the Senate first, he said.

However, as the newspaper reported, the Senate has been unreceptive.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presides over the Senate, has said the chamber lacks the votes to approve casinos, the newspaper reported.

At the recent Texas Republican convention, delegates approved a party platform stating, “We oppose any expansion of gambling, including legalized casino gambling."

Louisiana Thanks Texas For Sending Bettors 

These views on legalizing commercial casinos and sports betting in Texas are in line with what multimillion-dollar Houston sports bettor Jim “Mattress Mack” told in an interview almost two years ago.

McIngvale said there won’t be legal sports betting or commercial gambling in his lifetime in part because of opposition from religious groups.

To bet on sports, McIngvale travels next door to Louisiana or other states where sports wagering is legal and regulated.

Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, saId during a public meeting a couple of years ago that Louisiana appreciates the Texans who cross the border into the Bayou State to gamble legally.

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