A few weeks ago, I noted in this space that “The University of Maryland announced a new multi-year deal with sportsbook PointsBet, the latest partnership between an NCAA program and a bookmaker and the first for a Big Ten School.”
I further noted, “For those who don’t follow this stuff, a sportsbook is not a place where kids go to read inspiring stories about athletes in their favorite sports. No, it’s where people go to gamble.”
I realize that betting on college sports, specifically football and basketball, has been going on for a long time, but until recently the NCAA and individual colleges and universities did everything in their power to discourage this sometimes destructive activity.
Now, however, university administrators have become part of the “if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em” crowd, helped along with
significant financial incentives from various high-stakesgambling organizations across the country.
Trust me, these folks are not in the business for love of the game.
Maryland may have been the first Big Ten school to join hands with the gambling industry, but it’s no longer the last.
“Michigan State and Caesars Entertainment announced a multiyear sports betting partnership that includes a new premium seating space at Spartan Stadium” said the headline at espn.com.
Wow, imagine that. Premium seating where you can enjoy catered snacks and a cold beverage while betting that the Spartans will cover the spread without ever leaving your seat.
I mean, it’s the complete Game Day experience.
Whether this arrangement allows you to bet against the Spartans remains to be seen.
“Caesars Sportsbook becomes the official and exclusive sports betting and iGaming partner of Michigan State and will receive significant exposure at venues,” the story goes on.
Hopefully the point spread will be prominently displayed on the Jumbotron so even folks in the cheap seats will know exactly what they’re betting on.
“The new Caesars seating space inside Spartan Stadium, as well as an outside tailgating area, are expected to debut during the 2022 football season. Spartan fans also should expect to see Caesars content infused into the broadcast and digital platforms throughout Michigan State athletics.”
I just so love that word “infused,” as if it will be woven into the fan experience so seamlessly that fans will hardly even notice. I presume the pregame show on the Spartan Radio Network will be devoted exclusively to gambling advice on that day’s game.
According to Alan Haller, Michigan State’s Director of Athletics and Wagering, “We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this innovative opportunity, while recognizing the importance of Caesars’ commitment to responsible sports gaming education both for the student-athletes and the university community as a whole.”
Talk about letting the fox guard the henhouse, do we really want a gambling outfit that makes money off people losing their shirt to be teaching college students how to bet responsibly?
“Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but similar partnerships between sports betting companies and Division I FBS universities have been estimated at $1 million.”
Chump change for selling your soul.
“As part of the deal, Caesars will provide annual funds to student-athlete responsible-gaming education programs, scholarships and opportunities for internships and professional development for students pursuing careers in the sports industry.”
And remember, whatever money the university makes off this deal and whatever “responsible gaming” programs Caesars institutes will, of course, be funded by Michigan State students and fans who made bad bets.
Coming soon to a campus near you.