Michigan State University faculty forms petition to end partnership with Caesars

April 5, 2023
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The petition demands the MSU athletic department terminate the $9m deal for the sake of student mental health.

A group of faculty members at Michigan State University (MSU) have started a petition requesting that the university’s athletics department terminate its partnership with Caesars Entertainment, according to a local report in The State News.

The university currently has $9m deal in place with the casino brand, which includes branding rights for Caesars in MSU’s Spartan Stadium outside tailgating spaces.

The agreement also includes giving Caesars video advertisement and broadcast rights during MSU’s home games, as well as the ability to email students.

To date, the petition has been signed by 154 people, which are represented by current and former MSU faculty members, as well as by parents and current students.

Community sustainability professor and petition initiator John Kerr told The State News that faculty support for the petition was inspired by growing concern for the mental health of MSU students following the recent mass shooting on campus.

Kerr pointed out that the university’s deal with Caesars is “doing the opposite by sponsoring online gambling” because of the risk for unhealthy and addictive behaviors.

The petition stated: "With our partnership with Caesars, this is who MSU is: selling out for profit at the expense of our students’ well-being.”

The recent controversy regarding sportsbook advertising on colleges campuses has escalated during the last few months. The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently updated its Responsible Marketing Code for Sports Wagering, which addresses how the gaming industry conducts itself regarding sports betting marketing and advertising.

The updated code’s version includes age restrictions for ad campaigns that are limited to audiences who are 21 and older, as well as conditions that ban the use of all “risk-free” advertising. Other amendments also “prohibit college partnerships that promote, market or advertise sports wagering activity,” with an exception for alumni networks and to RG initiatives or problem gambling awareness content.

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