PointsBet, University of Colorado End College Sports Betting Partnership

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PointsBet is exiting its advertising partnership with the University of Colorado, a spokesperson with the sportsbook told LSR Wednesday.

The decision is not related to the American Gaming Association‘s recent decision to prohibit college sports betting partnerships under its marketing code, per the spokesperson. PointsBet is not an AGA member.

PointsBet and Colorado agreed to the first public sponsorship between an online sportsbook and a US college in 2020. The operator is also partnered with the University of Maryland. PointsBet officials declined to comment on that partnership in light of the Colorado decision.

College sports betting scrutiny intensifies

The spotlight has shined brightly on college sports betting partnerships in recent months.

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal sent letters to 66 universities demanding the details of any relationships with a sports betting company. In December, Blumenthal, concerned with underage students receiving gambling offers, sent letters to executives at PointsBet, Caesars and the AGA demanding the end of such partnerships.

In Maryland, lawmakers are considering a bill that would make the details of such deals public, while New York regulators are considering an outright prohibition. Massachusetts regulators also grilled PointsBet over its college relationships when considering its license, though the company subsequently pulled its application.

PointsBet leaves again

Shortly before pulling its application for a Massachusetts sports betting license, PointsBet announced the restructuring of its deal with NBC.

Citing a focus on local markets versus national, PointsBet will pay the broadcaster $58 million less this year in exchange for a two-year extension. It lost exclusive odds provider rights for Sunday Night Football in September.

PointsBet recently ended its sponsorship agreement with former NFL star Drew Brees, in response to regulatory and compliance concerns after Brees was named to Purdue University’s coaching staff. The decision came a few weeks after a marketing stunt where Brees appeared to be struck by lightning.

Years remained on PointsBet deal

PointsBet and Colorado had three years left on their $1.625 million deal, the spokesperson confirmed.

It involved advertising at the university’s football stadium, sponsorship messages on school radio and in pregame coverage, as well as a controversial $30-per-activation bonus incentive for the school.

PointsBet amended the deal in January to remove that incentive amid backlash and, according to the spokesperson, does not have a similar clause in its Maryland deal. That would be illegal under the bill Maryland is considering.

College sports betting deals shrink

Caesars, the other target of Blumenthal’s inquiries has marketing sponsorships with Louisiana State University and Michigan State University. LSU apologized earlier this year after sending what it called accidental marketing emails to underage students.

The NCAA has no prohibition on such agreements as long as they do not involve the use of student-athlete name image or likeness, though it did consult with Colorado before the PointsBet deal, school officials told LSR at the time.

Eleven states make it illegal for a student-athlete to partner with companies engaged in gambling, according to Justia.com, which specializes in legal information retrieval: