Online Sportsbook in Maryland Terminates Partnership with College University

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: May 11, 2023 08:00 PM
Online Sportsbook in Maryland Terminates Partnership with College University

Almost exactly two years ago, online sports betting in Maryland was signed into law. It didn't officially debut until November 2022, even before it was rolled out, the money started flowing. Sportsbooks vied for licenses. Advertisement spending skyrocketed. Partnerships between sportsbooks and teams, leagues and institutions were agreed to in droves. It was, for so long, a period of growth.

Now, however, Maryland sports betting may endure a stretch of retraction.

New gaming policies in the state could bring certain partnerships and operations to a halt over the coming months (and years). The fallout, in fact, is already underway.

To wit: PointsBet, one of the top online sportsbooks in the United States, just recently announced they terminated their partnership with the University of Maryland. The news doesn't come as a shock to anyone who has followed closely along. The Old Line State has been attempting to limit exposure to gambling among underage residents. This is an extension of those efforts.

But the dissolution of the relationship between the University of Maryland and PointsBet raises an interesting question: How will this impact the business of sports betting in Maryland?

PointsBet is the First Online Sportsbook in Maryland to Dissolve a Partnership

Though the news only just hit the airwaves this month, PointsBet actually distanced themselves from the University of Maryland sometime in April. Sam McQuillan from Legal Sports Report provides more details below:

"PointsBet has terminated its marketing partnership with the University of Maryland. The deal, facilitated through a college sports marketing and multimedia rights arm, was ended in late April, according to a PointsBet spokesperson. It involved on-campus advertisements, arena promotions, and marketing across the school’s digital channels and sports radio network broadcasts. 'PointsBet and Playfly Sports have reached a mutual agreement to end their sponsorship at the University of Maryland,' the company said in a statement."

This is the second partnership with a college university that PointsBet has effectively ended. They also ended their relationship with the University of Colorado earlier this year. As a result, the online sportsbook no longer has existing partnerships with any colleges.

The decision by PointsBet actually preempts any official legislature. Maryland passed a bill during the most recent sessions that restricts relationships between sportsbooks and collegiate campuses, but the measure has yet to take effect. While other betting operators have chosen to wait out the political climate, PointsBet is taking a more proactive approach. They haven't explained why, but the answer is pretty clear.

Unlike other companies in the USA, PointsBet operates at an international level. They have an online betting license in the United States, but their primary headquarters are based out of Australia. Currently, the company is in the process of selling their USA business. The decision to end relationships with numerous colleges is seen as an attempt to avoid hangups as they try to complete what figures to be a lucrative exit strategy.

Other Sportsbooks in the United States are Facing Heat for Partnerships with College Universities

Sportsbook partnerships with colleges aren't just being terminated in Maryland. Michigan State has reportedly ended their relationship with Caesars sportsbook after a faculty-driven petition gained traction, according to The Athletic.

Beyond that, multiple college sports programs across Iowa and Alabama have come under fire for their link to betting operators. On top of that, the recent focus on the marketing of sports betting on college campuses has prompted other states to tackle the issue as part of their initial legalization. Take, for instance, the terms of sports betting in New York. The Empire State has placed heavy restrictions on how much access betting operators have to college campuses. They have even limited the number of in-state collegiate events gamblers are allowed to wager on.

The impact of recent dialogue doesn't stop there. Not even close. It is being felt on a more macro level—right up to the American Gaming Association. As McQuillan reported: "In a series of letters to gaming executives and school officials earlier this year, Senator Richard Blumenthal called for the termination of all college sports betting partnerships, citing concerns over the potential harms of gambling among young people. The letters prompted the American Gaming Association to revise its sports betting marketing code to restrict college partnerships."

Some see this widespread concern as performative. And certain universities have yet to take action. LSU, for example, is still an official partner with Caesars sportsbook as far as we know. 

Don't Expect the Issue of Sports Betting Advertisements on College Campuses to Go Away Anytime Soon.

Even with some colleges remaining in the sports betting partnership business, and even if you disagree with the general premise, there's no denying this is a valid issue.

The legal age to bet on sports in most states is 21. The number of students 21 or older on college campuses typically represents the minority. Ages 17 through 20 are the prevailing group at most four-year schools. Allowing sportsbooks to advertise and conduct business on campuses gives them direct access to a market that's supposed to be illegal.

Underage gambling needs to be taken seriously. There are preventative measures in place to restrict minors from creating online sports betting accounts, but the systems are far from perfect. They can be manipulated by VPNs and falsified birthdays just to start.

For now, Maryland and New York are among the most proactive states when it comes to discouraging or outright ending sportsbook access to colleges. Rest assured, though, they won't be the only ones moving forward. This is an issue that will take center stage across the United for the foreseeable future.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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