Maryland becomes first Big Ten school to partner with sportsbook

The University of Maryland on Wednesday announced a new multi-year deal with sportsbook PointsBet, the latest partnership between an NCAA program and a bookmaker and the first for a Big Ten school.

As part of the agreement, PointsBet signage will appear in and around XFINITY Center and Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. The sportsbook will provide education on responsible gambling to university staff, students and fans. The partnership also will include a philanthropic component that will be announced at a later date.

Financial details were not disclosed, but a source familiar with the partnership said it is a “seven-figure deal.” The deal was brokered by sports marketing company Playfly Sports.

“Investing in the University of Maryland athletics program expands our ability to impact local communities and the greater DMV region while also connecting PointsBet with alumni that remain actively involved in reverence to their alma mater,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a release. “Sports betting education and safe gambling is key to our long-term strategy, as is making a tangible impact on the communities we invest in. We are proud to work with such a high-profile, storied university to further these objectives.”

Maryland joins LSU, Colorado, University of Denver and UNLV as schools that have partnered with sportsbooks. LSU did a deal with Caesars Entertainment in September. Colorado partnered with PointsBet in the spring, and the University of Denver has a partnership with sportsbook operator SuperBook.

“With LSU being the first in the SEC and Maryland the first in the Big Ten, I think you’re starting to see the trend really come out,” said Michael Schreiber, founder and CEO of Playfly Sports, which has brokered multiple sports betting deals with colleges. “I think this really puts a mark on the trend line and really shows how this is happening across the country.”

The state of Maryland is expected to launch its sports betting market this week, becoming the 30th jurisdiction to offer legal wagering. Online and in-person wagering will be allowed, including on in-state colleges and universities.

The NCAA remains an opponent of all forms of sports betting over fears that it will negatively impact the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes. Some of the NCAA’s member institutions, like Maryland, however, are taking a different approach.

“This is the business,” Brian Ullmann, executive associate athletic director and chief strategy officer for the University of Maryland, told ESPN. “If it’s legal and we think we can manage it in a responsible way, then I think athletic programs are going to take advantage of that, and certainly the University of Maryland athletic program is taking advantage of that.”

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