Dallas Cowboys Sign Partnership with WinStar World Casino

Dallas Cowboys WinStar Casino Deal

Jerry Jones said he was proud “to stand shoulder to shoulder” with a top entertainment brand like the WinStar.

The Dallas Cowboys signed a partnership with WinStar World Casino and Resort, making the Cowboys the first NFL franchise to partner with a casino. The partnership deal comes one week after the NFL approved sponsorship deals between its franchises and casino companies.

The NFL’s Business Ventures Committee approved the rules change in late-August to allow such deals to happen. The committee also allowed casinos with sportsbooks to buy naming rights to NFL stadiums, which many believe signals the Las Vegas Raiders’ new stadium will carry a Vegas Strip casino company’s brand name when it opens in 2020.

In a press conference filled with Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and Chickasaw Nation executives, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said he was proud of the corporate deal he signed with the largest casino in the world.

Jones said before the assembled Dallas sports media, “The Dallas Cowboys take great pride in aligning themselves with the best brands in the world. It is a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder as partners with such a prominent entertainment brand like WinStar World Casino.”

WinStar World Casino Profile

The WinStar World Casino is located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, a small town north of the Texas/Oklahoma border. The WinStar is situated 85 miles up I-35 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Most of the casino’s customers come from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, which has a population of 7.4 million people. That makes DFW the 4th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and the 7th-largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Due to the influx of customers from the Metroplex, the WinStar World Casino is the largest casino in the world in terms of gaming space (600,000 square feet). The state of Texas bans land-based casinos, so Dallas-area gamblers flock to the WinStar, the Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma, and the various riverboat casinos in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana.

Cowboys/WinStar Partnership Deal

The terms of the deal allows the WinStar to cross-promote with the Dallas Cowboys in a variety of ways. The WinStar will carry Dallas Cowboys’ logos throughout their casino. Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys home stadium, AT&T Stadium, and their practice facilities in Frisco will display WinStar brand logos and advertisements.

Television and radio broadcasts featuring the Dallas Cowboys will feature WinStar commercials, along with segments sponsored by the Thackerville casino. WinStar logos will not appear on Dallas Cowboys jerseys, because the NFL does not allow such advertisements. Some international sports franchises, such as English Premier League and La Liga football clubs, feature jersey ads.

NFL Reverses Casino Partnerships

The NFL’s decision to reverse its longstanding policy against gambling related companies is a stark reversal, given the NFL was a part of a lawsuit only 4 months ago to ban sports betting in 46 US states. On May 14, the US Supreme Court found against the NFL and the other major US sports leagues, which brought the effective repeal of the PASPA sports betting ban in 46 US states.

Since that decision, individual US states have the right to legalize, regulate, and tax sports betting in land-based casinos. So far, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Delaware have moved to legalize single-game sports betting within their borders. Delaware had the right under the PASPA to have sports lottery — a form of parlay bet involving 3 or more sporting events — but single-game sports bets are considered much more lucrative.

With the PAPSA ended, the NFL realized that their sports franchises could collect hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship dollars from casinos with sportsbooks. Since NFL fans would be among those most likely to place sports bets, advertising with a high profile team like the Dallas Cowboys would be a natural decision for the WinStar World Casino.

Tribal Sportsbooks and Sovereignty Issues

At present, the WinStar does not have a sportsbook. Oklahoma lawmakers have not legalized sports betting at land casinos in the state, though a bill has been introduced to the legislature to allow such gaming to occur.

Tribal casinos have a more complicated legal framework for sports betting, due to the nature of state and tribal gaming compacts under the terms of the 1988 Indian Gaming Act. Because such compacts involve sovereign status for the tribes, the legalization process must involve wording which maintains the sovereignty for the tribal reservations, while also legalizing bookmaker betting at those same sites.