Jerry Jones, longtime owner of the Cowboys, is no stranger to making big historic deals, and he’s added another one to his resume this week.
Putting the Red River Rivalry aside, the big time Texas team agreed to a partnership with WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma to become the first NFL team to be sponsored by a casino.
The move is undoubtedly a sign of the changing times in regards to gambling and sports betting in particular in the U.S. stemming from the landmark Supreme Court ruling in May that struck down a federal ban on wagering.
Jones praised the WinStar brand in his statement announcing the deal:
“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.”
The Cowboys are consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the most valuable sports organizations in the world. With five Super Bowl championships and the controversial, yet instantly recognizable moniker of “America’s Team” they’re also one of the most familiar brands in the sporting world.
The casino, located just along the state border by Interstate 35, is a favorite amongst both Oklahomans and Texans.
Its operated by the Chickasaw Tribal Nation, who’s Governor Bill Anoatubby expressed gratitude and excitement to make history in conjunction with one of the globe’s biggest sports brands.
“Hundreds of Chickasaws live in the Dallas area and the Dallas Cowboys are a vital part of the community. While this partnership is a great business deal that is only one of the reasons we are excited to be involved with the Dallas Cowboys and the Jones family. Jerry Jones is committed to enhancing the quality of life of Arlington youth and others in the community, which aligns closely with our mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people”
The deal itself allows for the casino to use the Cowboy’s logo and marks exclusively. That’s a huge allowance given the trademark blue and white star’s near synonymous connection with the sport of American football.
The agreement was made possible by an amendment passed by the NFL owners committee in which it was decided that casinos would be now able to sign such deals.
Additionally the NFL changed its laws regarding teams and gambling operators recently at the end of the August.
Under these new rules, teams are allowed to receive advertising from casinos and fantasy gaming websites which are in turn allowed to broadcast ads during postgame and pregame television coverage as well as throughout preseason games.
Stadiums are also now allowed to be named after casino partners, which helps clear up a previously muddy issue involving the Miami Dolphins’ home, Hard Rock Stadium. That no doubt served as a contributing factor to the addition of this statute.
As a check to all of this newly infused gambling influence, however, the casinos and teams were banned from pursuing any time of revenue sharing deals in which fans might be redirected to casinos and online gambling sites, particularly sports wagering sites as this would presumably cast some shade on bigger picture aspects like integrity.
Regardless, this is a major step forward by the NFL towards a substantially more friendly attitude towards gambling and sports betting.
While sports betting has a firm complementary relationship with athletics in places like Europe, where there are betting shops on seemingly every street corner, American sports leagues have been much more hesitant to embrace it. That’s mainly due to the U.S.’s unique history of anti-gambling legislation and restrictions.
But as the striking down of PASPA in May showed, those restrictions are beginning to relax and with it, seizing on new economic opportunities, it appears sports leagues will be sure to follow.