Is The US Moving Away From University/Sportsbook Partnerships?

Written By Giovanni Shorter on April 6, 2023
college sportsbook deal

It seems as if PointsBet’s partnership with the University Of Colorado may not be the only college sportsbook deal to cease. Maryland sportsbooks may soon be barred from partnering with local schools. In Michigan, there is a petition to end Michigan State University’s deal with Caesars Sportsbook. It appears that a cultural shift is happening in the industry.

Going forward, college sportsbook deals may soon no longer be commonplace.

Maryland Lawmakers Say No To Collegiate Deals

HB 0802 would prohibit institutions of higher education from entering into contracts with regulated gaming entities. This would make it illegal for sportsbooks to partner with local teams like Maryland Terrapins and Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks.

The bill is sponsored by Del. Jheanelle Wilkins and is being cross-filed with SB 0620 in the Senate. That measure is backed by Sen. Shelly Hettleman. The focus of these bills is to curb the risk of students becoming gambling addicts due to predatory advertising.

“That our Maryland institutions of higher education are not profiting from the sports betting activities of our students,” said Wilkins. “We don’t want our students to be exploited or be harmed or get addicted. The next aspect of the bill is transparency. It makes the public able to inspect the contract with sports betting companies and their agents so that we can actually take a look at what those contracts look like and what is going on.”

There is only one sports betting partnership between a Maryland university and a popular sportsbook currently active. The University of Maryland, College Park is partnered with PointsBet (the same entity that terminated its deal with Colorado).

Should the bill pass, this partnership would still be allowed to continue, however. This is because the deal was made before the law went into effect. Additionally, the partnership with UMCP and PointsBet is unique.

UMCP is partnered with sports marketing firm PlayFly Sports. All UMCP marketing deals are technically contracted with the Maryland Sports Properties company that was created by PlayFly. This means that there is no direct partnership between the university and the sportsbook. Therefore the legislation would not affect the deal.

Michigan Petition To End College Sportsbook Deal

In Michigan, locals have begun a petition that would see the end of the MSU and Caesar partnership. The petition was started by MSU faculty and has support from students, parents, and current and former faculty members.

“With our partnership with Caesars, this is who MSU is: selling out for profit at the expense of our students’ well-being,” the petition says.

The Caesars partnership was criticized from the beginning. MSU Interim Presidents Teresa Woodruff declared she would order her staff to look into the deal during a January Faculty Senate meeting. Woodruff was not a part of discussions surrounding the deal. The deal was conducted solely between Caesars and the MSU Athletics Department.

Time will tell if this petition and the overall shift in culture away from these types of deals affect the MSU and Caesars partnership.

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Giovanni Shorter

Giovanni Shorter is a sports enthusiast and writer with a passion for the legal and industry side of the sports betting market. Giovanni got his education from Florida State University where he honed his writing style writing narratives and short stories. He has spent his professional career covering sports and entertainment through articles and blogs and continues to look at the industry from multiple angles.

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