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Pointsbet and University of Colorado terminate relationship

Pointsbet terminates deal with University of Colorado

Leading sportsbook Pointsbet terminated its partnership with the University of Colorado on Wednesday, following calls by lawmakers and educators for the relationship to end.

A joint spokesperson for the sportsbook and university released a statement revealing that the 2020 agreement, which included a $1.6 million deal to promote sports betting on campus, was over.

“PointsBet and the University of Colorado have decided it is mutually beneficial to end their partnership at this time. Both parties are thankful for the joint efforts throughout the relationship and wish the best for each organisation going forwards,” they said.

Some modifications had already been made to the partnership in January, when the duo took out the section that gave the university $30 every time its promo code was used when registering and placing a bet.

While neither party stated why the agreement was terminated, PointsBet revealed that they had already made plans to end it before the American Gaming Association (AGA) updated its rules to prohibit universities and sportsbooks from signing partnerships on March 28.

The AGA specifically said that the new sports betting marketing code would put an end to “college partnerships that promote, market, or advertise sports wagering activity (other than to alumni networks or content focused on responsible gaming initiatives or problem gambling awareness).”

These new guidelines will limit sports betting firms’ campus activities to promoting responsible gambling and allow them to engage with only college alumni groups for business partnerships.

However, since not all gambling companies are members of the AGA, the association could face some issues enforcing these limitations, resorting to sending complaints to the defaulting companies. The association also revealed that the rules were not retroactive and, as such, would have no effect on existing college partnerships.

Speaking about AGA’s move, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, stated that he regarded it as a necessary “major step toward setting standards nationwide.” He however pointed out that the new code did not alter his opinion that the sports betting industry still needed to be regulated by “national standards enforceable by law.”

“I have no great confidence that self-regulation will work here when the major culprits are not even part of the AGA, and seemingly purposefully so,” he said.

Blumenthal notably sent around 66 colleges and universities a letter a day before the announcement, inquiring about existing and potential partnerships with sports betting firms. He claimed that universities’ willingness to partner with these brands was concerning due to the possibility of young people developing gambling problems.

The University of Colorado and PointsBet announced their partnership in September 2020. At the time, the University of Colorado’s athletic director, Rick George, called the collaboration something that would significantly benefit student-athletes in the coming years.

The deal was initially supposed to last five years and would have been one of the few between a major NCAA Division I athletics programme and a sports betting firm.

While the university had no issues announcing the partnership, they failed to reveal that Pointsbet had invested $1.6 million in the deal. The University of Colorado also did not mention the $30 referral bonus awarded to them every time someone signed up and placed a bet using their code.

The University of Denver soon followed suit in 2021 when they announced that they had partnered with SuperBook. Both partnerships are two of the five publicly known deals between an educational entity and a sports betting operator in the country.

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