WinStar Becomes First Casino To Sponsor NFL Team

WinStar Becomes First Casino To Sponsor NFL Team

On Thursday, Sept. 6, the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys announced that it had reached an agreement with WinStar World Casino and Resort to become the casino’s exclusive partner. This deal marks the first-ever such partnership between an NFL franchise and a gambling casino.

Details of the Deal

The WinStar will now be able to use the Cowboys’ logos and trademarks in its products. The two organizations will also be able to put together cross-promotional events, with the Cowboys having indicated that they intend to hold social meetings and club functions at the WinStar World Casino. The arrangement reached by the Cowboys and WinStar only became possible following a change in the NFL’s rules at the end of August removing provisions against partnering with gambling companies. Commenting on the agreement, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at a press conference:

“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 General Manager Jack Parkinson remarked:

“This unprecedented designation gives our patrons and Dallas Cowboy fans the chance to blend their passion for both world-class leaders into unique experiences at both AT&T Stadium and WinStar World Casino and Resort.”

About the Companies Involved

The Dallas Cowboys is the most valuable sports team in the world with a market worth of approximately $4.8 billion according to Forbes. This puts it ahead of such internationally recognized names as the New York Yankees ($4bn) and Manchester United ($4.123bn). The Cowboys are also one of the most successful American football teams in history with five Super Bowl wins, and a string of 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1966 to 1985. The Cowboys play their home games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

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The WinStar World Casino and Resort is located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, just across the Texas-Oklahoma border and about 85 miles north of Arlington. It’s a tribal casino owned by the Chickasaw Nation and operated under the terms of a gaming compact signed between the tribe and the state in 2005. WinStar offers a range of gambling activities and products, including slots, casino table games, bingo, parti-mutuel race betting and poker. In fact, the WinStar website bills the property as “the world’s largest casino,” having overtaken Foxwoods Resort Casino in 2009 following a major expansion project.

At present, the facility boasts 8,100 slot machines, 99 table games, and a 55-table poker room spread out across a massive 560,000 square foot of casino floor. It also features three hotel towers offering a combined 1,400 bedrooms, as well as all the amenities expected of a major casino resort, including conference rooms, restaurants, shops, a golf course, and a first-class spa.

Sports Betting in the Cards?

The May Supreme Court decision in Murphy v NCAA paved the way for individual states to license and regulate sportsbooks if they choose to do so. Several of them, like New Jersey and Mississippi, have already passed the appropriate legislation and have seen sportsbooks open their doors.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, has not yet approved any law to permit sports betting within its borders, although there is a bill in the legislature that would legalize the activity. With more than 100 tribal casinos across the state, there’s quite a demand for the necessary legal framework for instate sports betting to be set up, too. As the largest of these casinos, WinStar World would be a prime beneficiary of a state-regulated market for wagering on sporting contests.

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Notwithstanding the NFL’s recent relaxation of the rules against teams cooperating with gambling firms, there are still some restrictions in place. Sportsbooks cannot directly advertise their relationships with NFL clubs although casinos and other gambling products associated with said sportsbooks are free to mention their relationships with teams. In addition, NFL franchises are barred from accepting revenue share arrangements on the traffic they send to gambling operators.

Even with these prohibitions in place, there are many ways for both WinStar World and the Cowboys to benefit from their accord should legalized sports betting come to Oklahoma. They will just have to be careful to focus their activities on casino gaming rather than sportsbook wagering, but any moves made to grow the casino will almost assuredly bolster, as a side effect, whatever sportsbook may appear at WinStar in the future. In any event, there’s every possibility that the NFL will loosen its rules as state-licensed sports betting becomes more prevalent across the United States.

Higher Level of Responsibility

While the landmark announcement has been greeted with great enthusiasm by sports fans, industry specialists, including Sponsorship Consultant Michael Lysko, have warned that such business arrangements come with a higher level of social responsibility for organizers. According to Lysko, this is where an integrity fee, or a kind of tax leveled on sports wagering, could prove useful in providing extra money to tackle gambling addiction and fund recovery programs.

In the meantime, Lysko points out that he would not be surprised to see the Dallas Cowboys taking the initiative and spending money on addiction preventative programs ahead of time in an effort to leverage the playing field.

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Possible Effects of the Deal

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the NFL stands to gain $2.3 billion in extra revenue per year as a consequence of legalized betting on its games. More than half a billion of this additional cash is expected to come from advertising and sponsorships. Because it’s one of the most popular and well-known NFL clubs, the Dallas Cowboys would probably see a higher-than-average share of this money.

Now that this prominent sporting brand has joined forces with a casino giant, there may be growing interest among other team owners to seek out similar arrangements with gaming firms. We could see more contracts signed between other football organizations and brick-and-mortar casinos, yes, but the way is also clear for arrangements with online casinos and poker rooms in regulated markets (currently New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania) as well as daily fantasy sports sites.