Jerry Jones, the energetic and outspoken billionaire owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, could soon be able to brag that he’s part owner of a casino in Arkansas. According to a press release from a hospitality company he founded years ago, Legends, the entity is planning on partnering with the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Business (CNB) to launch a casino resort in the state.Jones founded Legends 2008 through a partnership with George Steinbrenner, then the owner of the New York Yankees before passing away in July 2010 after suffering a heart attack. Legends and the CNB will “deliver a world-class entertainment complex consistent with other venues within the Legends portfolio,” according to the press release. It further states, “Legends will manage the process for the design and development of the complex, conceive the culinary experience and help CNB to monetize the guest experience for non-gaming attractions.”
The Executive VP, CEO and Director of Player Personnel for the Cowboys (and the son of Jerry Jones), Stephen Jones, is excited about the venture, given the ties the family has to Arkansas. Jerry Jones lived in the state from the time he was three, leaving for Missouri with his parents when he was 18. He states, “We are excited to have Legends involved in the process. It is very important to us because of the family history and connection we have to Arkansas. Legends was founded on the principle of creating a superior guest experience during game day and we look forward to bringing that expertise to the state of Arkansas.”
CNB’s CEO, Shawn Slaton, adds, “Entering into this partnership with the globally-recognized team at Legends is a game-changer. They bring a wealth of experience having worked with premier venues across professional sports, live events and collegiate partners including The University of Arkansas, AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Live Nation amphitheaters.”
The tribe will own the venue, not Legends. This is a way to avoid any possible conflict of interest with the NFL, which limits how much of a gambling business team owners are allowed to have.
Arkansas voters approved a measure that would allow casinos in the state to be born from the existing pari-mutuel tracks. However, 11 counties voted against the measure, of which one stands out in light of the casino plans. Pope County residents said no, but this is the county where Jones and CNB want to put the resort. Jones always likes a good challenge.