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With shares of Apple (AAPL - Get Report) nearing yearly highs, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday that his philosophy hasn't changed: Own Apple, don't trade it.

Cramer said he was called an Apple fanboy, and a lot worse, when he recommended the Action Alerts PLUS holding on May 2 at $93 a share. But since then the stock has rallied 21%, proving the naysayers and the 295 large funds who sold their shares around that time, dead wrong.

It turns out the iPhone 7, the one the bears decried as dead on arrival, was alive after all and many models of the new phone are sold out worldwide. Back on May 2, Apple CEO Tim Cook said what was most important to Apple was that customers loved their products; as today's news proves, they still do.

Cook also noted in his interview that he has never been more bullish on China and India, the two most populous countries on the planet. That strong outlook is why Cramer reiterated his buy in May and why he did again today.

Cramer said as long as Apple's financials are strong, the stock is cheaper than most of the S&P 500 and the company is still making the best products on Earth, then he's going to be a shareholder.

Betting on Casino Stocks

If you wait for confirmation that a bottom has occurred, then you've probably already missed it, Cramer told viewers. That was certainly the case with the casino stocks, which bottomed in the first quarter of 2016 but are only now confirming that things are indeed getting better.

Cramer reitrated that the stock market isn't an indicator of what's happening now, it's a predictor of what's going to happen in the future. In the case of the casino stocks, they'd been in the doghouse since 2014, when China cracked down hard on corruption in Macau. That sent shares of Las Vegas Sands (LVS - Get Report) plunging 60% and Wynn Resorts (WYNN - Get Report) down over 80% in the months that followed.

But on Jan. 19, news broke that Steve Wynn had purchased one million shares of Wynn Resorts, in the open market, at an average of $63.61 a share. Just days later, Wynn bought even more share. That was almost precisely the bottom for the casino stocks, Cramer noted, although at the time, only Steve Wynn knew it.

The only outward signs that things were starting to get better were slowing revenue declines at Las Vegas Sands, which saw 20% declines in 2015 but only 9.8% declines in the first quarter of 2016. Wynn also saw a rebound in its earnings per share that quarter.

Cramer said that after big gains in both stocks, most of the easy money has already been made but there is still a little more upside to be had. He likes Wynn the best, trading at 22 times earnings, compared to Sands at 24 times earnings.

Where's the Consumer?

What the heck happened to the U.S. consumer in August? That was the question on Cramer's mind after the 0.3% decline in sales that was reported today. The weakness was the first retail sales drop in over five months.

Cramer said that for many, especially younger, Americans it's just getting cheaper to eat in than go out to a restaurant. The Millennial generation also prefers to stay in and binge on Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) rather than go out and the new sharing economy is hard for traditional metrics to gauge at all.

But while the retail enviormnent may be difficult to track, there is one thing that we do know, and that's housing remains incredibly strong. That was something home builder Toll Brothers (TOL - Get Report) said on Mad Money last night, and something both Home Depot (HD - Get Report) and Lowe's (LOW - Get Report) told us on their conference calls.

So while many analysts a forecasting an overall retail malaise, Cramer said he's more optimistic. Certain sectors of retail are doing quite well, he concluded, while other might just be hiding outside of the traditional metrics.

Jerry Jones on Football

In a special interview, Cramer talked the business of football with Jerry Jones, owner, president and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, a franchise currently valued at $4.2 billion.

Jones said the market for football continues to be huge, especially in Dallas, an area that is not only in the heart of football country but also booming economically.

When asked about Twitter's (TWTR - Get Report) new partnership with the National Football League, Jones said that the affinity for the NFL should never be underestimated and time will tell if the partnership will help lift Twitter's outlook.

Turning to the topic of losing, Jones said he never really gets over a big loss. "Losses make me sick," he said.

Cramer said that despite being a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, he's also a fan of Jerry Jones. "I can't help it, I like the guy," he concluded.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Kinder Morgan (KMI - Get Report) , Enterprise Products Partners (EPD - Get Report) , Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP - Get Report) , Citigroup (C - Get Report) , ON Semiconductor (ON - Get Report) , NXP Semiconductors (NXPI - Get Report) , Skyworks Solutions (SWKS - Get Report) , Xerox (XRX - Get Report) and Alcoa (AA - Get Report) .

Cramer was bearish on Bank of Internet (BOFI) , Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT - Get Report) and Resolute Energy (REN) .

Off the Tape

In his "Off the Tape" segment, Cramer sat down with Fred Dimyan, co-founder and CEO of the privately held Potoo Marketing, a company helping smaller vendors sell their wares on Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report) .

Dimyan explained the Potoo is an Amazonian bird that's vital to the rain forest ecosystem but is rarely seen, just as his company is in the Amazon.com marketplace.

Amazon brings many good things to consumers, Dimyan said, including over 360 million items for sale and the convenience of online shopping. But the flip side of that equation is that managing over three million sellers is "a beast."

Potoo helps track both good and bad activity on Amazon, helping brands spot trends like counterfeit products. Potoo will even purchase suspicious items themselves and report the fraud to Amazon.

Dimyan explained that while Amazon takes a strong stance against counterfeit items, they often lack the product expertise to spot the fraud on their own. That's where Potoo comes in.

To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AA, AAPL, C and NXPI.