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PointsBet, University of Maryland terminate sports betting deal

Pointsbet terminates deal with University of Colorado

PointsBet announced on Tuesday that it had ended its two-year marketing partnership with the University of Maryland.

A spokesperson for the sports betting operator revealed that the deal was terminated in late April via “mutual agreement”.

“PointsBet and Playfly Sports have reached a mutual agreement to end their sponsorship at the University of Maryland,” they said.

The deal was technically between PointsBet and Maryland Sports Properties, a division of Playfly Sports that worked with the school. It involved arena promotions, advertisements on campus, and marketing via the university’s sports radio network broadcasts and digital channels.

The deal was announced in December 2021 and has been under scrutiny by Maryland lawmakers recently. PointsBet also has a partnership with the University of Colorado which has been heavily criticized in the past months.

According to the Colorado agreement, the university would be compensated every time new users registered for PointsBet using a promotional code. The duo ended their collaboration towards the end of March.

While PointsBet did not have the same clause in its deal with the University of Maryland, state lawmakers decided to take action in advance. Following the publication of a New York Times article about the dangers of gambling apps on college campuses, Maryland’s legislature passed a bill to restrict similar partnerships.

The measure was passed this session and is currently awaiting Gov. Wes Moore’s signature. It will prohibit colleges in Maryland from accepting payment when new users register on the gambling app.

READ: Maryland responsible gambling bill clears house hurdle

The bill also requires colleges in the state to make the details of their agreements with sports wagering operators public. This clause in the bill was prompted by PointsBet’s decision to make the deal via Playfly Sports and keep the details private. A measure to restrict college sports betting is also pending in New York.

PointsBet currently has no college partners following its decision to cut ties with the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland. The operator is also reportedly considering selling off its US division.

Several advocates of responsible gambling have expressed their support for the termination of PointsBet’s deals with both universities.

The executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Keith Whyte, noted the importance of colleges having programs dedicated to prevention, treatment and research of gambling addiction, which is a growing issue among young adults.

“Colleges who have partnerships with gambling companies must have even more extensive programs. As we did not see the University of Maryland had or was developing such programs, we are glad the partnership is ending,” Whyte said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal sent out several letters earlier this year to university officials and gaming operators, requesting that their college sports betting deals end. He emphasized the potential harm betting could cause among college students.

The American Gaming Association responded to Blumenthal’s letters by amending its sports betting marketing code to discourage partnerships between gaming operators and schools. While the AGA has no legal authority, the move appears to have had an effect within the US gambling industry.

In April, the Michigan State University faculty sent out a petition requesting that the university terminate its contract with Caesars. Later that month, the two entities had reportedly “inactivated” their agreement and taken off signage and promotional materials.

A similar situation occurred regarding Caesars’ deal with LSU via Playfly Sports. While the operator’s future with the university is unsure, Caesars’ signage was removed from university properties.

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