April 5, 2023 2 min read


Petition Seeks to End MSU Deal with Caesars Sportsbook

The petition adds to the industry clouds hanging above the deal following AGA's latest marketing code update

A petition demanding an end to the sports betting partnership between Michigan State University (MSU)’s Athletics department and Caesars Sportsbook is circulating among MSU faculty and receiving support from both the students and administration.

Detrimental to Young People’s Minds

Led by community sustainability professor John Kerr, the petition against the $9 million deal with Caesars was inspired by the work being done to help those struggling with mental health issues in the aftermath of the mass shooting on MSU’s campus in February, reported The State News.

Kerr and his colleagues who have been working to help those struggling mentally after the tragic event see the sports betting partnership with Caesars as doing exactly the opposite of their work by encouraging online gambling which can be addictive and unhealthy for young people’s minds.

“With our partnership with Caesars, this is who MSU is: selling out for profit at the expense of our students’ well-being,” the petition reads.

The petition is “exactly what is being worked on now by the president as she indicated in her remarks to the faculty senate,” according to interim provost Thomas Jeitschko. In January, interim president Teresa Woodruff questioned the partnership and stated that her staff would look further into the deal overseen by MSU’s Athletics director Alan Haller.

Caesars Sportsbook and MSU’s Athletics teamed up in an agreement that designated the sportsbook brand as the department’s official and exclusive sports betting and iGaming provider. Caesars Sportsbook agreed to provide responsible betting education materials and premium gambling and hospitality offerings to MSU’s Athletics.

A sports marketing firm is acting as a middleman between MSU and Caesars Sportsbook and ensures that the contract comprising broadcasts and video ads for the sportsbook brand during games, mailing campaigns to MSU students’ database, and a clause that allows Caesars to “Caesarize” the spaces outside the gates of Spartan Stadium would not be subject to public records requests.

AGA’s Marketing Code Amendment

Also in January, the American Gaming Association issued an amendment to its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, prohibiting sports wagering partnerships for colleges in an attempt to bring further protection for college-aged audiences.

The update was largely seen as a response of the gambling industry’s body to the MSU partnership deal with Caesars Sportsbook, and while going into effect immediately, the changes to the marketing code allowed a grace period until July 1, 2023, for existing or deployed assets.

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