Colorado, PointsBet End Sports Betting Partnership Following AGA Update

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • The deal was signed in 2020 and saw UC receive $1.6 million upfront and $30 for every referral
  • Earlier this week, the AGA said sports betting partnerships with college could only be to promote responsible gambling
  • Colorado sportsbooks have claimed nearly $11 billion in handle since the state legalized sports betting

The University of Colorado and PointsBet sportsbook have ended their partnership after the American Gaming Association (AGA) released a new set of marketing standards.

The partnership, signed in 2020, was designated to run through the 2025-26 school year. It had drawn criticism in recent months because of how it allegedly marketed and encouraged sports betting for college students, a claim that both parties denied was the focus of their union.

The AGA’s updated guidelines in the Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, known as the “Code,” earlier this week rendered any debates futile and outlawed such partnerships.

Ending the controversy

As per the AGA’s update, the only reason that colleges and universities may partner with sports betting companies is to promote safe and responsible gambling. All other motivations, including closer access to facilities and athletics teams and marketing advantages, are not permissible.

PointsBet and Colorado decided not to continue their allegiance with the new focus but are leaving on good terms.

“PointsBet and the University of Colorado have decided it is mutually beneficial to end their partnership at this time,” a joint statement from PointsBet and the University of Colorado said.

Part of their partnership saw the university receive $1.6 million upfront and $30 for every customer that registered with PointsBet using the school’s referral code. That was one of the main focuses of criticism during their time together—so much so that it was outlawed in January this year, which was the first decisive blow to the partnership.

Colorado was the first Power Five conference school to sign a partnership with a sports betting company. Other schools like Michigan State and Louisiana State University (LSU) also joined the short-lived movement and were also met with resounding criticism. A total of five such partnerships were formed before the AGA’s update.

The coming fall would have been an important time for PointsBet, whose logo can be seen throughout the 50,183-set Folsom Field. That’s because megastar smooth-talking showman Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders has quickly transformed one of the Pac-12’s forgotten-about football programs into a national media draw.

In December 2022, Sanders’ first month in charge, Colorado football product sales were reportedly up 700% year-to-year. The school also sold roughly 40,000 tickets to its spring football game after selling less than 2,000 the year prior.

Sports betting in Colorado

PointsBet and Colorado chose to end their partnership despite the AGA stating that its guidelines were not retroactive, meaning that they could have seen out their partnership through the 25-26 school year as intended, though that would have opened them to more criticism.

PointsBet clarified that it is not a part of the AGA. It also shared that it had been planning on terminating the arrangement with UC even before the AGA’s recent release despite the school’s athletics director, Rick George, claiming the partnership would benefit “student-athletes for years to come.”

The University of Denver, a nearby school, is still enjoying a partnership with Superbook sportsbook it signed a year after Colorado and PointsBet’s breakthrough.

"As sports betting continues to become more and more of a passion for our fan base, we felt that it was important to partner with a local company that we trusted to put an emphasis on responsible gaming,” said Karlton Creech, UD's vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations in September 2021. “We're also excited about the opportunity for the proceeds of this partnership to directly impact our student-athletes' experience at DU.”

Colorado legalized sports betting in 2019. There are over 26 regulated sportsbooks operating in the state today, which local gamblers have used to wager over $10.7 billion. $34.7 million of that total have been claimed as tax money by the state.

In February, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved $1.5 million in grants to help address problem gambling.

Fans are still allowed to bet on in-state college games, unlike many other states with legal sports betting.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.