Michigan State University and Caesars Sportsbook May End Partnership Early
After a string of recent controversies over college sports betting, Caesars Sportsbook and Michigan State University will be parting ways, reports local media.
Caesars advertisements have been a prominent feature at Spartan Stadium and around the college campus since the deal was signed in 2020. However, it seems that this state of affairs may be coming to an end.
“Initially, it was a good thing, but I don’t think it’s in our best interest moving forward,” MSU athletic director Alan Haller told the Lansing State Journal.
Significant Financial Commitment
Caesars’ four-year deal with MSU has seen the gambling operator lay out a “significant financial commitment” to the school.
Signed through multimedia partner Playfly Sports, it was reportedly worth some $9 million a year.
Public opinion has been largely against college-sportsbook partnerships since the first few were inked in newly legal states.
MSU staff gathered 300 signatures on a petition to end the sponsorship in April, and a Connecticut senator penned an open letter to colleges across the country denouncing the practice.
Things have hardly gotten easier since then, with a series of college sports betting scandals coming to light over recent months.
The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide baseball head coach Brad Bohannon was fired after a betting conspiracy involving secret communications to bettors on match days.
The Ohio sports betting regulator banned betting on the team completely.
At the same time, Ohio had its own controversy. Regulators there suspended 41 of its college athletes for violating betting regulations.
All this bad publicity led the American Gaming Association, the biggest industry trade group and one that counts Caesars among its members, to take action.
Last month, it officially recommended all of its represented operators cease entering into new contracts with colleges.
Now that Caesars and MSU may be ending their deal, only two college-sportsbook partnerships remain active in the US.
Louisiana State University also works with Caesars, and the University of Denver in Colorado works with SuperBook.
PointsBet US, now owned by Fanatics, had also sponsored University of Colorado and University of Maryland teams, but it ended those partnerships in March of this year.
College age bettors are a big market for sportsbooks, as proven by new research conducted on behalf of the National Collegiate Athletics Association this month.
Some 60% of students who participated in the survey said they regularly or sometimes participate in sports betting. Some 41% had bet on their own college’s team, sometimes via proxy, despite that being against market rules in many states.
At MSU, officials remained upbeat, even though they may lose out on millions a year on its deal with Caesars.
“From a financial perspective, we feel that there will be growth in other sponsorship categories that will take over inventory that was allocated to this particular client,” said Paul Schager,MSU executive associate athletic director for external relations.