Choctaw Casinos Enlist Texas Sports Legends for Marketing Campaign


Posted on: August 29, 2023, 12:48h.

Last updated on: August 28, 2023, 01:54h.

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts, the gaming and hospitality arm of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is strategically targeting Texans to maximize its properties’ success. The tribe’s latest marketing campaign underscores the significance of Texas in the financial prosperity of Choctaw casinos.

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts Texas Troy Aikman
Choctaw Casinos & Resorts has hired Darren Woodson, Troy Aikman, and Ivan Rodriguez for its next marketing campaign. All three are Texas sports legends. Choctaw casinos rely on Texas for about 80% of their customer traffic. (Image: Choctaw Casinos & Resorts)

In 2021, the tribe unveiled its $600 million, 1,000-room hotel at the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant. Situated just 80 miles north of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area, the Choctaw casino benefits from the prohibition of slot machines in Texas.

The Choctaws also operate casino resorts in Pocola and Grant. Pocola is located west of the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, while Grant is about 50 miles east of Durant, near the Texas state line.

Recently, the Choctaws announced a partnership with three legendary Texas sports figures. Titled “Where the Players Play,” the advertising campaign features NFL greats Troy Aikman and Darren Woodson, both former Dallas Cowboys players, and MLB Hall of Fame member Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, renowned for his time with the Texas Rangers. Aikman is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Attracting Texans North

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts has revealed that the advertising campaign featuring the three Texas sports legends is a four-year multimillion-dollar deal. These individuals will serve as brand ambassadors for the tribal casinos in Oklahoma.

The North Texas market accounts for a significant majority of our annual visitors, and we are thrilled to have these sports icons represent and celebrate the Choctaw brand,” said Janie Dillard, senior executive officer of the Choctaw Nation’s Commerce Division.

The “Where the Players Play” campaign will incorporate television, social media, and radio advertisements featuring the sports stars. Aikman, who grew up in Oklahoma and spent time at the University of Oklahoma before transferring to UCLA, expressed his excitement about partnering with Choctaw Casinos.

The Choctaws have consistently utilized Texas sports stars and teams to promote their Oklahoma casinos. Choctaw Casinos & Resorts currently has partnerships with the Texas Rangers, the NHL’s Dallas Stars, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

“With this investment in iconic North Texas athletes, the collaboration with Aikman, Rodriguez, and Woodson will bring the Oklahoma-based brand’s sports-related partnerships to 24 in 2023,” stated Choctaw in a press release.

Gaming On Hold

This year, Texas lawmakers contemplated the end of the state’s ban on commercial casinos and slot machines. However, after a gaming bill cleared the state House of Representatives in May, it was put on hold by a Senate committee.

Las Vegas Sands has spent substantial amounts lobbying Texas legislators in recent years, seeking permission to establish a casino destination. Gaming support appears to be increasing, with billionaire Mark Cuban being a prominent advocate.

The owner of the Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank” has argued that Texas needs casinos to boost tourism and diversify the state’s hospitality offerings.

Ask your out-of-state friends how often they save up to bring their families to Texas. Ask anyone how frequently they look forward to coming here during the summer. You already know the answer,” Cuban told The Dallas Morning News.

Dallas-Fort Worth is not the only major metropolitan area in Texas that supports casinos in neighboring states. Houston is the primary feeder market for casinos in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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