Sports Betting Agencies Controversially Partnering with College Campuses

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Mobile Betting


  • The rise of sports betting has seen sportsbooks partner with American college campuses.
  • Industry experts worry that exposure to underage gamblers could create long lasting problems.
  • Legislators are already drafting new ways to limit the influence of gambling on minors.

The rise of American sports betting has led to unprecedented partnerships, agreements, and marketing strategies—now, the connection between sportsbooks and college campuses is raising eyebrows.

Caesars Entertainment Inc., owner of Caesars sportsbook, and PointsBet are two companies that have partnerships with colleges. The deals allow the companies to access private information and tools for marketing, display signage at events and paste their branding on the schools’ digital content.

Despite the gambling community’s proliferation in recent years, there are still many opponents to the movement. Many neutrals also feel that agreements between sportsbooks and universities may be a step too far.

Current agreements

Caesars has current agreements with Louisiana State University (LSU) and Michigan State University (MSU) that allow them to be front and center for two of the most popular institutions in the country. PointsBet, meanwhile, has similar arrangements with the University of Maryland and the University of Colorado, two other highly-reputable schools.

There is concern from many industry insiders and experts that the proximity to college students—many of which are not old enough to gamble—could have lasting effects on their attitude towards gambling and addictive behaviors.

“Most college students are not allowed to bet yet, but they may be tempted because of the exposure,” said Martin Lycka, senior vice president for American regulatory affairs and responsible gambling for Entain Plc., an international gambling entity.

Andrew Sneyd, FanDuel executive vice president of marketing, agrees with those sentiments.

“There’s too large a population that shouldn’t be exposed,” said Sneyd during a call with the American Gaming Association (AGA), Caesars, and other gambling industry members.

Guidelines and suggestions

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, in partnership with a nonprofit organization founded by Entain, has put on problem gambling awareness clinics at roughly 60 college campuses this year. Caesars and PointsBet are also allocating funds towards problem gambling awareness at their sponsored schools.

The NCAA maintains its position that universities are in charge of determining how they arrange and execute their sponsorship agreements, so long as no legal boundaries are crossed. It has also given guidance on how “to help protect the integrity of competition and welfare of college athletes.”

The American Gaming Association issued a set of guidelines for gambling advertisers in 2019. In the brief, it suggested only advertising to crowds where at least three-quarters of people could legally gamble.

As it pertains to college athletics, several states have also banned player-prop betting or betting on in-state teams. However, that is not enough for many in the anti-gambling crowd.

History of sports betting

USA sports betting was previously restricted to Nevada. That precedent stood until a 2018 decision in federal court allowed states to legalize and launch local markets if the necessary support was received.

At the time of writing, 36 states have legalized sports betting, and 31 have operational markets. Ohio is expected to be the next state to join the “active” group if it keeps its January 1 target launch date.

The legalization of sports betting forced an integration of gambling into mainstream sports. Whereas sports betting was previously frowned upon by the masses, sports announcers now announce live odds during games, television crews highlight sports betting branding, and active athletes partner with gambling operators.

The topic of gambling with young adults and children has remained highly contentious throughout the assimilation of gambling into sports. Many states have created safeguards to limit influence from operators, whether that be problem gambling assistance programs, limiting the number of betting lines, or, as seen last week, a proposition to ban “predatory” verbiage regarding sportsbook bonuses and promotions.

Caesars has responded to criticisms by pointing out that it does not use LSU or MSU athletes in its special offers. It also has a policy that bans sending emails to students with university email addresses, although in January, LSU students were sent emails about a $300 welcome bonus offer for betting $20 with the Caesars sportsbook.

The subject remains a source of contention and will influence how future states set up their sports betting markets.

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.