Last week, a deal was struck between Grandscape, an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment destination in North Dallas, and Choctaw Casinos & Resorts, a chain of gaming, hotel and resort properties that belongs to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Despite partnership, gambling still prohibited
The partnership which makes Choctaw “the official casino and resort/sports betting partner” of Grandscape may have some folks thinking gambling is coming to The Colony. That’s not the case. Casino gambling and retail and online sports betting are still not legal in Texas.
Rather, the primary aim of the deal was branding, according to Katie Wedekind, campaign and media relations manager at Grandscape.
“This partnership is mainly for brand promotion and sponsorship purposes, similar to the ones we have with [other companies]. Sports betting didn’t really factor into it at this point because we haven’t got that yet. And we don’t know when it’s coming.”
Grandscape intends to roll out more branding initiatives, especially at its live events. Choctaw will sponsor concerts, fitness series and festivals, which have been taking place for years at the already-branded Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Stage & Lawn.
The partnership is for at least five years.
Casino offers will be available at Grandscape, and vice-versa
Additional Choctaw benefits could include an incentive program. Also, there could be a rewards card that presents guests with exclusive offers at participating Grandscape businesses.
Patrons will receive special offers and promotions cashable at any Choctaw property in Oklahoma. Naturally, this will include the state’s flagship casino and resort in Durant, OK, which is less than an hour’s drive from Grandscape.
Choctaw’s reach extends deep into the Dallas-Fort-Worth Metroplex, so much so that it won the right to re-name the old Texas Rangers stadium in Arlington to Choctaw Stadium. This naming rights agreement, signed in August 2021, was an expansion of a partnership Choctaw had with the Texas Rangers that dates back to 2010.
And in May 2019, Choctaw became the Official and Exclusive Casino and Resort of the Texas Rangers.
SkyTower added to Durant property in August 2021
With almost 200,000 tribal members and 10,000 employees, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is the third largest Native American nation in the country. Their Choctaw Casinos & Resorts include holdings all across southeastern Oklahoma, including Durant, Grant, Pocola, Idabel, Broken Bow, McAlester, Stigler and Stringtown.
In August 2021, the Choctaw Nation enhanced its Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant with the opening of the SkyTower. SkyTower is an opulent 21-story hotel and casino that features 1,000 deluxe rooms, 3,300 additional slot machines, table games, a new poker room, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and swimming pools.
This expansion had been in the works since 2019. It is the fourth major upgrade at the resort since it debuted in 2006. All these extra trimmings have turned the facility into one of America’s largest gambling resorts.
Erica Kosemund, senior director of gaming brand & partnership at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, said the partnership with Grandscape made sense for both entities.
“As one of the most popular entertainment destinations in North Texas, Grandscape is the perfect partner for Choctaw Casinos & Resorts. With one-of-a-kind entertainment, shopping and dining, Grandscape and Choctaw Casinos & Resorts share an innovative approach to exceeding guests’ expectations, and this partnership brings new and exciting opportunities to both North Texas and Southeast Oklahoma.”
Partnership could prove fruitful
The five-year union could become very lucrative for Choctaw Casino & Resorts if sports betting is legalized in Texas. Some experts assert that if sports betting were legal in Texas, it would be the largest market in the US.
Though, the fact that Texas still hasn’t legalized most gambling bodes well for the Choctaw Nation. Many Texans drive up to Oklahoma to gamble. In fact, the Durant facility reports that two-thirds of its guests live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The demand for sports betting in Texas is high. Illegal bookmakers and hundreds of unregulated offshore betting sites are flourishing throughout the state. According to a PlayTexas survey, 65% of Texans would “support a ballot measure to expand legal gambling in the state.”
Entities like Choctaw Casino & Resorts are positioning themselves for a time when gambling is legalized in Texas.