Deion Sanders, aka Coach Prime, will not be walking his new sidelines with any sports betting banners behind him. PointsBet Sportsbook and the University of Colorado Boulder have moved to end their multi-year partnership after facing backlash. This comes following an industry shift away from such deals. Many markets have begun passing laws that prohibit sports betting advertising deals with collegiate institutions. This could be the start of a trend in the industry.
PointsBet Partnership Criticism
The deal saw the popular sportsbook able to promote its brand on campus. This included in stadiums and arenas. It included $1.6 million for promotional rights. Partnerships like this were commonplace within the industry. Many major sports betting operators curated deals with college athletic departments post-PASPA.
PointsBet’s partnership in particular faced much criticism. Earlier in the year, the popular sportsbook operator altered the deal in order to remove a referral bonus aspect. The university initially gained $30 every time someone joined the sportsbook using its promo code and placed a bet.
While they were criticized for the referral aspect of the partnership, it appears the concerns did not stop. Now the partnership is dissolved in totality.
“PointsBet and the University of Colorado have decided it is mutually beneficial to end their partnership at this time,” said PointsBet representatives in a statement.
Industry Pushes Against University Partnerships
The concerns about partnerships between collegiate programs and sportsbooks have become a major talking point in several markets. Newer markets like Massachusetts and Ohio deliberated about such deals while creating their regulations. Sportsbook operators were asked directly about these partnerships when presenting to several gaming commissions.
The criticisms have become so loud that even the American Gaming Association has prohibited such deals in its updated responsible marketing code.
The concerns surrounding these deals are centered on college-age students being under the legal gambling age. Despite this, they are being marketed too thanks to these deals. Legislators argue that sportsbooks cannot guarantee that these ads will not reach underage bettors who are attending school games.
Industry wide there has been a shift for more responsible advertising on behalf of sportsbook operators. Lawmakers are demanding more safeguards be put in place to protect underage bettors from problem gambling. One of the casualties of this push is the end of partnerships like with PointsBet Sportsbook and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Expect more popular sportsbooks to begin ending partnerships with major universities to follow.