In a first for an NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys and the WinStar World casino have struck a deal which makes the Cowboys the casino’s exclusive partner.
The Dallas Cowboys have become the first NFL team to have an official casino designation, partnering with WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma as an exclusive partner. The league relaxed its rules on gambling-related content, allowing teams to accept advertising money…
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 6, 2018
The Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones commented:
“It is a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder as partners with such a prominent entertainment brand like WinStar World Casino.”
Jones is also an investor in DraftKings, which is now offering sports betting via DraftKings Sportsbook.
WinStar World is located on the border between Texas and Oklahoma, and is owned by the Chickasaw Nation. The Nation’s Governor Bill Anoatubby expressed his enthusiasm for the deal.
“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 casino will now be entitled to use Dallas Cowboys logos and marks as part of their own promotions.
NFL fought sports betting regulation
The NFL has long been an opponent of legalized sports betting whether on or offline. However, now that the US Supreme Court has overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the NFL has recognized that it has to react to the new environment.
To that purpose, at the end of August, the NFL changed its rules on relationships with gambling operators. Under the new rules, teams will be allowed:
- To receive advertising from any casinos and fantasy sites, giving them permission to broadcast adverts during preview and post-match programs, as well as during preseason games
- Teams and casinos can use each other’s brand logos in any advertising
- Stadiums can now be named after casino partners
- Teams are specifically barred from any form of revenue share based on referring fans to casinos or online gambling sites, including sports betting sites
The rule change does not mark the NFL’s first authorization of team relationships with gambling. Notably, MGM Resorts International and the Detroit Lions had a deal that was not as all-encompassing as the Cowboys’ deal.
Back in 2009, the NFL began to allow teams to strike deals with state lotteries. At the time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell distinguished between lottery games and sports betting:
“This would purely be scratch-off and chance games. They are not in any way connected to the outcome of our games. That is a critical feature for us.”
That’s now all in the past. The American Gaming Association (AGA) put out some research that estimated the NFL would see around $2.3 billion of extra revenue as the result of legalized sports betting.
That estimate includes revenues that teams would be able to obtain under deals such as the one just signed by the Dallas Cowboys.
The NBA was first to create a casino partnership
On July 31, MGM and the NBA put together the first post-PASPA deal between a sports league and casino group. The press release explained that:
“As part of the partnership, MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the United States.
MGM Resorts will be promoted across the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA social media platforms. Additionally, the NBA will be promoted across MGM Resorts’ sports betting platforms.”
The Dallas Cowboys deal with WinStars World looks like a smaller version of the MGM/NBA deal. It is also the signal for other NFL teams to jump into the fray.
More casino/sports team deals are inevitably coming, just part of the way in which state-regulated sports betting is changing the industry landscape for both casinos and sports teams.