Louisiana State University and Entertainment Caesars entered into a deal in 2021 to advertise campus sports betting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s now over, sooner than expected.
Allison Allsop of LSU Manship News Service broke the story this week in one piece broadcast by WWL-TV. She reported that the “controversial seven-figure deal” is now a thing of the past, according to school officials and a sports marketing firm.
Lauren Capone of Playfly Sports, a marketing firm that helped broker the deal, said it was meant to last “several more years,” according to the report.
Through the deal, Caesars received the rights to place signs throughout Tiger Stadium and place its name on a new club seating arrangement in the South Zone called Caesars Sportsbook Skyline Club, according to the report. This “club” included seating for up to 1,500 fans, an all-you-can-eat buffet, as well as the ability to purchase beer and wine. In-site signs, advertisements on the LSU mobile sports app and more were included.
Many students who allegedly saw this advertisement were not old enough to gamble legally in Louisiana.
“These actions drew criticism from students and faculty,” Allsop said. “Opponents were concerned about high addiction rates, underage gambling and students wasting money needed to pay for their education.”
“Still sickened by how quickly the people running LSU have embraced sports betting, regardless of the potential harm to students and athletes,” Robert Mann, a professor of mass communication at LSU said in a tweet.
This week, proposed legislation by State Sen. Gary L. Smith (D-19) that prohibits “post-secondary educational institutions from entering into promotional agreements with gaming entities,” was passed and sent to Governor John Bel Edwards. Capone said the discussion about ending the deal began when the bill was proposed in March.
Earlier this month, Smith said the school would end its deal with Caesars. LSU Athletics brand manager Cody Worsham confirmed as much on Thursday.
“Another factor was that the American Gaming Association, an industry group, updated its Responsible Marketing Code in March to prohibit gaming companies from partnering with universities to promote sports betting,” wrote Allsop. She said other colleges — including Michigan State and the University of Maryland — have also ended deals with game companies.
By June 2, all Caesars signs should have been removed from campus, according to Capone.
Mann said in an interview Friday that he was happy to see the deal come to an end.
“I mean, I think they’re obligated to do the right thing,” Mann said in an interview this week, referring to LSU Athletics. “Not of their own volition, but because of outside circumstances and people who exercise better judgment than them.”
According to the National Problem Gambling Council2 million American adults meet the criteria for severe gambling problems in any given year and 4 to 6 million are considered to have mild or moderate gambling problems.
“Research also indicates that most adults who choose to gamble are able to do so responsibly,” the council said.
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