Sports betting partnerships with schools such as LSU raise ethical questions


LSU was featured extensively in a recent New York Times article about universities partnering with sports betting companies.

In September 2021, a Michigan State University athletic department official emailed his boss saying an online betting company was willing to pay millions to promote the game on campus. Caesars Sportsbook’s offer was found to be worth $8.4 million over five years.

LSU’s deal with Caesars, also signed in 2021, was similar to MSU’s, and the university sent an encouraging email to recipients — including some students under 21 who can’t legally gamble — to “place your first bet (and win your first bonus).”

Other universities have also entered into similar agreements under this The New York Times reports was a high-profile but covert campaign by the online sports gaming industry. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to let states legalize such betting, gambling companies have worked to convert traditional casino customers, fantasy sports fans and online game players into a new generation of digital gamers.

The deals helped athletic departments recoup revenue they had lost during the pandemic and provided additional funds to hire coaches.

However, the partnerships raise questions about whether promoting on-campus gaming, especially to people at an age when they are vulnerable to developing gaming disorders, fits the mission of higher education. Read the full story.