Maryland, New York Latest To Examine College Sports Betting Partnerships

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Concern over college sports betting partnerships continues to grow among elected officials, as Maryland and New York consider limits on advertising.

A Maryland bill (SB 620) introduced by Sen. Shelly Hettleman would bar colleges and universities from being compensated for users that sign up with a school-promoted sports betting code. It would also require schools to disclose the full details of any partnerships they have with sports betting operators.

In New York, state regulators met Monday to weigh amending their sports betting regulations to bar sportsbooks from college campuses, after officials from the NY Council on Problem Gambling reported an increase in calls from mothers of students.

PointsBet restructures Colorado deal

Both come a month after PointsBet and the University of Colorado restructured their $1.6 million deal amid pushback around a $30 per-person bonus the school received for users that signed up with their promo code. Details of the agreement were first reported by The New York Times, which published a series of investigative articles on the industry that sparked interest from lawmakers around the country.

PointsBet has an advertising partnership with the University of Maryland. Full details are not public, though it is devoid of any user signup incentives, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Federal lawmaker calls for end of college sports betting deals

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal has been critical of those partnerships, arguing they have the potential for “irreparable harm” as most college students are under 21.

Neither PointsBet nor Caesars, which has advertising partnerships with LSU and Michigan State, have responded to Blumenthal’s demands to leave college campuses.

Blumenthal is not the only federal lawmaker critical of sports betting advertising. Rep. Paul Tonko recently proposed going ever farther and banning all ads from FCC-regulated broadcasts.

Advertising sports betting on college campuses is a violation of the American Gaming Association‘s marketing code. But as industry lobby president Bill Miller has pointed out, the AGA cannot take action against nonmembers like Caesars and PointsBet.

Ohio, Massachusetts take action

Even some AGA members do not have a clean track record when it comes to targeting underage players.

In January, Ohio regulators handed Penn Entertainment a $250,000 fine for promoting Barstool Sportsbook during a college football show near the University of Toledo. Fellow AGA members DraftKings and BetMGM, as well as Caesars, face fines for marketing material their contracted affiliates sent to thousands of underage Ohio residents.

Massachusetts expressly banned college advertising of all kinds in its sports betting law. Already, each of its active operators has violated a separate provision of the law by offering wagers in-state teams.

As the state approaches its March 10 launch of online sports betting, the industry’s relationship to college sports continues to be a key subject of discussion among regulators.