MSU Facing the Heat After Sportsbook Deal Turns Sour

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Michigan State University is still experiencing criticism after forming a deal with Caesars Sportsbook. The partnership was created in January 2022 and allegedly resulted in Caesars Sportsbook gaining access to MSU’s student email database, broadcasts, video advertisements for Caesars during games, and seats on the football team’s private planes. Caesars was also given the right to “Caesrize” the tailgating spaces near the Spartan Stadium. The deal gave the Michigan State University’s Athletic Department just $8.4 million over five years. 


According to, the deal between MSU and Caesars Sportsbook was formulated and presented by PlayFly, the social media and brand managing partner for the MSU athletic department. 

Details surrounding the partnership were gathered from a press release from Caesars Entertainment in January 2022, “Caesars Sportsbook will gain significant exposure through MSU’s sports properties and access to a wide range of hospitality assets and VIP experiences, which will be available to Caesars Sportsbook players, as part of the wide range of benefits offered through the industry-leading loyalty program, Caesars Rewards. Assets include broadcast and digital content across MSU athletics, TV-visible signage across basketball, football, and hockey, naming entitlement for a new premium seating area inside Spartan Stadium set to debut during the 2022 football season along with an outdoor tailgating area, and access to unique alumni and fan engagement opportunities surrounding varsity sports seasons currently underway. Spartan fans can also soon enjoy special emperor-worthy promotional offers on mobile sports betting, iGaming, and The World Series of Poker (WSOP®) product offerings.”


We wrote a blog on this story earlier this year, highlighting how swiftly MSU’s athletic department agreed to the deal. For a school of MSU’s size, $8.4 million over five years does not seem like much, especially considering head coach, Mel Tucker, receives $9.5 million annually. According to a USA Today public records request, the athletic department had lost $15.4 million due to the covid pandemic’s impact on student athletic events, leading the department to consider the $8.4 million deal. 

Now, we’re not anti-sports betting here, obviously. It can be a fun way to feel more involved and a part of your favorite sports team or pull for your favorite players during game days. As with any form of wagering or potentially addictive activity, it is vital to know yourself, set limits, and remember that any money you wager should be money you are willing to lose. 

Gambling also becomes toxic and downright dangerous when we begin advertising to our up-and-coming generation and college students, who are just learning to make wise financial decisions. College students are smack dab in the middle of the most burdensome financial investment of their life to date. With so many students graduating with thousands in debt, it is easy to see why advertising to college students, many of which are under the legal gambling age, is wrong. 

Many have also commented that a sports betting or casino partnership is no different from a liquor, beer, or cigarette sponsorship. 

Michigan State faculty and staff have also started a petition against the partnership. 


The American Gaming Association released and updated its guidelines concerning governing partnerships and the promotion of online gambling to schools. The updated rules effectively prohibit any future partnerships between colleges, students, or any related staff and gambling operators.

Caesars ended its affiliation with the AGA in 2020, so its existing contract with MSU is effectively allowed to continue. Any alterations or extensions would not be tolerated, however.

It might not take that long for Michigan State to come to its senses, however, as other Universities are ending partnerships in other states and state legislatures are proposing new laws. In Colorado, the University of Colorado ended its partnership with PointsBet. Maryland is considering a transparency law around college sports betting, while New York is looking to enact a ban altogether on such partnerships. 

What do you think is the best decision for MSU and Caesars?

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: