Caesars Sportsbook is breaking new ground with a deal in the Michigan sports betting market.
Caesars Sportsbook is now the exclusive sportsbook and iGaming partner of Michigan State University, the company announced Thursday. While not the first sportsbook partnership with a college, it is the first official iGaming deal with a Power 5 conference school.
“The opportunity to partner with Caesars, a leading force in the sports and entertainment industry, will help enhance gameday experiences for Spartan fans and provide significant resources to support the growing needs of each of our varsity programs,” MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller said in a release.
Caesars Sportsbook puts focus on responsible gaming
Caesars made a “significant financial commitment to MSU,” but did not disclose the terms of the deal. The sportsbook operator will also provide funding for student-athlete responsible gaming education, scholarships, and internship and professional development opportunities.
In return, a new premium seating area and a tailgate area in Spartan Stadium will use Caesars branding. The sportsbook also receives signage at football, basketball and hockey games.
Fans of MSU athletics — including the top-10 football and basketball programs — will be able to use special offers and likely promo codes on mobile sports betting in MI as well.
“Michigan State has a proud tradition of excellence and partnering with an internationally recognized brand in college athletics is a great opportunity for us,” Caesars Digital co-President Eric Hession said. “The Spartan fan base and alumni network is passionate and well-established across the country.”
College sports betting deals continue to grow
Prior to Louisiana sports betting launching in fall 2021, Caesars signed a deal with LSU. Caesars also lined up a partnership with the Fiesta Bowl for sports betting in Arizona.
The first such deals were William Hill, now owned by Caesars, with UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno.
“The rapidly expanding interest around gaming in the college space has pushed us to create strategic opportunities for our college properties that not only provide impactful gaming education resources but also significant opportunities to drive new sources of revenue,” said Christy Hedgpeth, president of Playfly Sports Properties, which facilitated the MSU-Caesars deal.
Other recent college deals include:
- PointsBet with the University of Colorado
- PointsBet with the University of Maryland
- Superbook with the University of Denver
Changing attitudes in college sports?
Until recently, many stakeholders in the NCAA have been largely anti-gambling, including its President Mark Emmert. Those stances appear to be shifting quickly with checks to be written.
In spring 2021, the National Council on Problem Gambling released a set of suggested college sports betting partnership guidelines.
Earlier this week, Learfield and US Integrity announced a joint college sports betting watchdog program aimed at helping to protect the integrity of college sports.