The university of Colorado Boulder have agreed to a five-year deal with PointsBet, an Australia-based sports betting operator. While the athletics department will receive the financial incentive as part of the deal, its couches, staff, and players are still banned from using the platform under the NCAA rules.
Last November, the voters of Colorado approved legalized gambling in the state. However, the NCAA still maintains a strict “no gambling” policy when
it comes to student/athletes and coaches. Chris Grove tracks sports betting for the research and consulting firm, Eilers and Krejcik Gaming. “Any marketing partnership between a sportsbook and a college or university definitely raises serious questions of a conflict with the NCAA’s global message regarding sports betting.” He went on, “it’s important to realize that we’re on basically unexplored ground at this point. There’s no established playbook for how these partnerships should or will work. Everyone is going to learn together.”
An Exciting Prospect for College Sports
Colorado Athletic Director Rick George is excited about the recent partnership. “We supported the state bill around sports gaming because we believe the integrity of our sports will be stronger now that it’s legal. We are partnering with PointsBet because we feel this partnership further increases the integrity of our game.” George confirmed that he discussed the partnership with the NCAA and PAC-12 Conference before striking the deal and mentioned the existence of other casino sponsorships in college athletics, such as the advertising deal between UNLV and William Hill Sportsbook.
Although the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, George noted that the sponsorship will benefit the Scripps Leadership and Career Development program that the school runs for its student athletes. He hopes the joint venture will also raise awareness about what responsible gaming can look like and the benefits of sports betting education.
PointsBet will enjoy premium advertising at University of Colorado Boulder games and slots in radio broadcasts. In addition, PointsBet has recently partnered with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment to advertise at Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games. The company hopes to establish a strong foothold in Colorado. Eric Foote is PointsBet’s Chief Commercial Officer in the United States. “Our intentions are to be synonymous with Colorado sports betting in the wake of the Kroenke partnership. This partnership also solidifies our efforts to become Colorado’s true hometown sports book.”
A Change in the Landscape?
Since the 2018 strike down of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act by the US Supreme Court, legal sports betting legislation has swept across the individual states. Attitudes towards the practice of sports gambling have relaxed and revenues are up across the various sports betting platforms. This has led to numerous professional sports alliances with legal sports books. However, the NCAA has remained steadfast in its opposition to gambling on college events.
The NCAA website offers in a general statement that sports betting “has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and demeans the competition.”
According to Rick George this stance is not likely to change soon. “The NCAA has a long-standing policy against betting on college, or betting on any sport with the exception of horse racing and others like that, so nothing changes there.” George does not see gambling kiosks popping up in college facilities anytime in the future. The motivations for the deal look to be largely financial. The advertising revenue for the school comes at a critical time in the wake of the Covid-19 related shutdowns.