• Anthony Studnicka

LSU Gets Caesars Sportsbook, but Caesars Sportsbook Won’t Get LSU Athletes

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

By: Anthony Studnicka


Looking At LSU

In 2016 NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “we remain very much opposed to gambling on sports.”[1] Five short years later, not just professional football, but much of the sports world as a whole has evolved to embrace sports wagering. This was further evidenced today when it was announced that Louisiana State University (LSU) entered a partnership with Caesar’s Sportsbook.[2]


While the specific value of the deal is uncertain, it will certainly be valued at multiple million.[3] Provisions of the deal also include the naming rights to the Caesars Sportsbook Skyline Club at Tiger Stadium, advertising displays throughout Death Valley, and a presence on LSU’s mobile sports app.[4] However, while reaching an agreement with professional sports teams has grown common for Caesars and other sports wagering companies,[5] reaching an agreement with a college raises one main unique legal concern: college athletes are not always 21 years of age or older.


Caesars is a casino company, and the applicable legal age of gambling is 21 years old. Thus, the majority of students at LSU are younger than the required legal age to gamble. In order to comply with marketing towards the appropriate audience, Caesars stated it will not market to anyone under 21, or “highlight gaming offers inside campus facilities.”[6]How exactly this will be enforced is unclear, and another concern may be raised of how this could even be enforced effectively and realistically. Further, since a large portion of students-athletes attending LSU will not be 21, those underage will undoubtedly not be able to participate in promotional activities and marketing efforts of Caesar’s offerings. However, what about those athletes 21 and over? In other words, given that amateur athletes can now profit off their name, image, and likeness, will amateur athletes 21 or older be able to appear in promotions for Caesars?


The answer to this is question is a clear “no”. A look at LSU’s NIL policy prohibits the endorsement of the following areas: tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or activities, banned athletic substances, and gambling.[7] Thus, even students over 21 will not be able to appear in promotions for Caesars, as it would be a violation of the LSU Board of Supervisors Policy on Student-Athlete NIL, as the policy currently articulates.


The Bigger Picture As LSU becomes the first school in the SEC to reach a partnership with a gambling company, the notion of amateurism continues to be diminished. Earlier this year the NCAA heavily relied on the notion of amateurism to defend their argument in the Supreme Court case Alston v. NCAA, a case which the NCAA lost. This agreement further demonstrates that the concept of the sanctity of amateurism continues to be a façade. Here, one of the premier college football programs in the country reached a financial agreement with a sportsbook to promote wagering on athletic play. That college program, LSU, will benefit immensely financially while their athletes still will not have the ability to directly benefit from the agreement.


In sum, while this agreement may not completely disbar the concept of amateurism on its own, it continues to shift the paradigm in favor of abolishing the outdated concept meriting the legal notion as moot. Amateurism is clearly dying, yet some may feel that college athletes are still not equally compensated. But hold on tight because if 2021 has been any indication, the shift for student-athletes power is just beginning to gain momentum.

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Anthony has a J.D. and a Masters degree in Sports Law & Business. He is the creator of Long Run Sports. [1] @RapSheet, Twitter (Oct. 19, 2016, 11:21 AM) https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/788807378829320192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E788807378829320192%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.legalsportsreport.com%2F11854%2Fnfl-goodell-on-sports-betting%2F. [2] Brett Martel, LSU, Caesars Sportsbook Enter Sponsorship Agreement, AP (Jul. 15, 2020), https://apnews.com/article/college-football-sports-louisiana-new-orleans-louisiana-state-tigers-football-8f2c27f338cc5e7081108dd794ff63a1. [3] Id. [4] Id. [5] See Mick Akers, Caesars, Saints Set To Ink $138M Deal For Superdome Naming Rights, Review Journal (Jul. 22, 2021), https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/casinos-gaming/caesars-saints-set-to-ink-138m-deal-for-superdome-naming-rights-2404665/. [6] Brett Martel, LSU, Caesars Sportsbook Enter Sponsorship Agreement, AP (Jul. 15, 2020), https://apnews.com/article/college-football-sports-louisiana-new-orleans-louisiana-state-tigers-football-8f2c27f338cc5e7081108dd794ff63a1. [7] LSU Board of Supervisors, Policy on Student-Athlete Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), art. VIII. Additional General Guidelines, (Last Visited: Sept. 17, 2021), https://www.lsu.edu/bos/docs/policies/policy_name-imagelikeness-2021-june.pdf.

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