Sports Betting Operator PointsBet and the University of Colorado Cut Ties

The two parties' severing ties come after a recent decision by the American Gaming Association to ban partnerships between schools and sports betting operators that “promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity.”

Mar 30, 2023 • 12:56 ET • 4 min read
Julian Hammond III Colorado Buffaloes NCAAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

A Power 5 athletic department is parting ways with one of America’s largest online sports betting sites.

The University of Colorado and PointsBet have mutually agreed to end their legal sports betting sponsorship agreement with three years left remaining on the deal.

“Both parties are thankful for the joint efforts throughout the relationship and wish the best for each organization going forward," PointsBet and CU said in a joint statement.

In 2020, CU and PointsBet announced a five-year agreement worth $1.6 million. The deal, which would have run through the 2025-26 academic year, included a $30 referral fee for each user that signed up for PointsBet using a CU-specific promotional code. The incentivized program was dissolved in January after the backlash that it promoted gambling to students.

“We wanted to put the line in the sand that ethically, people should not be betting on their own student-athletes,” CU Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Chair Seth Hornstein told the CU Independent.

Breaking barriers

PointsBet — the seventh largest sports betting operator in the U.S. — became the first sportsbook to partner with a Power 5 conference school. The company also has an agreement with the University of Maryland that it secured in 2021, but the deal has also received blowback.

Lawmakers in Maryland have introduced legislation that could ban deals between sportsbooks and universities. PointBets’ deal with UMD marked the first for a Big Ten school.

PointsBet and CU severing ties comes after a recent decision by the American Gaming Association to ban partnerships between schools and sports betting operators that “promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity.” The AGA’s new marketing code had no impact on Colorado and PointsBet exiting their deal as the sportsbook is not currently an AGA member.

Both parties maintain a positive outlook 

PointsBet generated $120 million in revenue for six months leading up to 2023 — marking a 28% increase year-over-year. The Australian-based company posted the results behind growth in its U.S. business, which reported a total sports betting handle of $1.1 billion — up 66% compared to the same period the year prior. PointsBet’s total handle in H1 FY2023 reached $2.2 billion.

As of December 2022, sales of officially licensed CU products were reportedly up 700% year-over-year after the university hired Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders to lead its football program earlier that month with a five-year, $29.5 million deal.

Sanders could generate “hundreds of millions” in revenue for CU, according to Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt.

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