Image for Mike Lukas Mike Lukas - October 14, 2022

Dallas Cowboys First Ever NFL team with an Official Casino

One of the bigger NFL stories that sort of got lost in the shuffle of the 2018 season happened last September when the Dallas Cowboys became the first ever NFL team to partner up with an official casino.

Let that sink in, football fans – America’s team is now sponsored by a casino.

Here we take a closer look into what that might mean in 2019 for the Cowboy’s, the NFL’s most valuable franchise, and we answer some of the questions fans might have about introducing gambling sponsorships to the game of football.

Wait, can you really gamble legally on football in the United States?

It’s complicated, but technically, you could always gamble legally on the NFL in America, but the only states that allowed it were Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

Plenty of bookies in every state were, of course, very willing to take your football bets, but illegally, and on the internet it has become very easy to place bets with sportsbooks around the world.

Those same four states, Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, were then grandfathered and exempted from the  Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which made it illegal for all other states to authorize legal sports betting, and that act held true until just last year.

In May of 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that PASPA violated states rights, which cleared the way for states who wanted legalized gambling to pursue it.

And the NFL is okay with that?

The National Football League has been on record historically as being fully against any sort of legalization of sports betting.

The obvious fear is that gambling would bring corruption to the game.

Regardless of their firm stance against it, legal and illegal betting on the NFL has been going on since the league’s inception.

What was Goodell’s reaction to the SCOTUS ruling?

After the SCOTUS ruling last year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the NFL’s stance that “legalized sports gambling in the United States should be governed by federal law rather than state law.”

Goodell suggested four principles be maintained by the league regarding NFL gambling:

  1. Protect NFL content and intellectual property from theft or misuse;
  2. Guidelines must provide substantial consumer protections;
  3. Fans must continue to have access to official, reliable NFL data;
  4. Law enforcement must be given the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools to protect fans and penalize those who break the law.

Which states now let you gamble on the NFL?

Currently there are eight states that allow you to legally gamble on the NFL.

They are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Next in line closest to joining them are New York and Arkansas.

There are many additional states now moving towards allowing legalized NFL gambling, but the only one likely to refuse completely is Utah, a state that has its anti-gambling stance written into the state’s constitution.

What does it mean for a team to have an ‘official casino’?

Up until the SCOTUS ruling, the NFL banned its teams from conducting any bookmaker-related relationships.

But then last August, the National Football League owners voted to permit franchises to sell sponsorship deals to casinos that work alongside bookmakers and betting companies.

Despite that agreement, a casino is still prohibited from “directly advertising its associated sportsbook in partnership with an NFL team.”

So what can a sponsoring casino now do?

The new rule allows for some big changes, here are a few of them:

  • Teams can now receive advertising from any casinos and fantasy sites and broadcast them during preview and post-match programming, as well as during the preseason games.
  • Both teams and casinos can use each other’s brand logos in advertising.
  • NFL stadiums can now accept casinos as naming rights partners.

What casino did the Cowboys choose?

The Dallas Cowboys, worth $5 billion, now have a partnership with WinStar World Casino and Resort, located in Oklahoma, where sports betting remains illegal.

The WinStar World Casino is considered the largest casino in the U.S. and is located just north of the Texas border and has over a half a million square feet of gaming space.

In terms of square feet, it’s not the largest in the world, but (according to WinStar) their 7,400 gaming machines make them the biggest casino in the world.

How will the Cowboys and WinStar work together?

They already are, in fact.

WinStar now has two VIP suites (one on field level, the other up above in the Silver Suites section) and are currently offering VIP experiences for their ‘friends’ at each home game during the 2018-19 season.

Also, WinStar has begun to pepper FaceBook and Twitter with advertisements for ticket giveaways, including paid hotel accommodations and round trip airfare.

Chances are that’s just the beginning of what Cowboys fans will see.

Does this deal benefit the Chickasaw Nation?

Winstar was started in 2003 as a small tribal casino for the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, but because it was located just an hour from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, it grew at an explosive rate.

Because of that, the Winstar partnership with the Cowboys makes a lot of sense, and the Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, agrees, saying:

“Hundreds of Chickasaws live in the Dallas area… 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.”

Are there any other NFL teams who are doing this?

Yes, there are seven other NFL franchises who have a partnership with a major casino.

 The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles all have a partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

Not only that, but the National Football League itself has chosen to partner up with Caesars Entertainment, as well, making the gaming giant the first-ever “Official Casino Sponsor of the NFL.”

The terms of the agreement are set for three years, the deal worth an estimated $30 million per year.

How has casino sponsorship affected the game of football?

Other than fans having to stare at gambling-related advertisements while watching their football, so far the casino partnerships haven’t greatly affected the quality of the game.

No big stories about paid off referees or players have emerged so far, although a few accusations were probably tossed around after a ref missed a blatant pass interference call during the NFC Championship game.

As more states open their doors to NFL gambling, though, more opportunities to cheat the system will most likely become apparent, but by now the fully resourced Law enforcement that Goodell has called for is in place and ready to prevent any major tampering with the game of professional football.

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AUTHOR

Mike Lukas

1211 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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