DALLAS - The Dallas Cowboys are making history by partnering with a casino.
On Thursday, owner Jerry Jones announced the joint venture with WinStar World Casino and Resort. It makes the Cowboys the first NFL team to have an official casino designation.
WinStar, located in Oklahoma just north of the Texas border, is among the largest casinos in the world.
Until just months ago, the official merger of the two brands was not possible. The NFL relaxed its rules against gambling associations, meaning teams can now accept advertising money from casinos.
In May, the supreme court struck down a federal law that largely outlawed sports betting outside Nevada. The NFL followed with a move lifting the league's restriction for a team to closely associate with legalized gaming.
"It’s the first time in league history a casino has been granted the rights to have an exclusive partnership with an NFL team,” Jones said.
But the announcement is not without scrutiny about the issue of gambling addiction and what role the Cowboys' new message would have with its fans.
Sponsorship Consultant Michael Lysko says a business deal like this comes with a higher level of responsibility.
“Whatever anybody wants to say about the NFL or Dallas Cowboys, they know how to monetize opportunities and that's what this is,” Lysko said. “Does it come with a social responsibility with that? Of course it does. And that’s where I think the integrity fee comes in. "
That integrity fee would be a sort-of tax on sports betting that would go to the league.
Lysko points out down the road that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Cowboys spend money on gambling addiction prevention efforts to leverage the playing field.
In the meantime, it’s clear both Winstar and the Cowboys’ star power are betting big on the success of a new deal.
"It's been here. It's been happening for a long time,” Jones said. “But I think our announcement here today manifests where we are going."
WinStar will have exclusive use of the team’s logo.