LSU athletics on Friday announced a sponsorship partnership with Caesars Entertainment Inc., making Caesars Sportsbook the official sportsbook of LSU sports.
Per The Associated Press, the deal is the first between an SEC school and a gambling company.
The deal includes signage and broadcast ads at Tigers sporting events, as well as naming rights at the Skyline Club at Tiger Stadium and an exclusive presence on the athletic department’s mobile app.
The official release mentioned no name, image and likeness (NIL) component, but Caesars will be providing a scholarship fund for LSU athletes.
“We have a proud legacy in Louisiana, and bringing LSU fans closer to the sports they love while also offering scholarship opportunities will help us build upon that,” Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital, said.
Most forms of gambling — and marketing of that gambling — is illegal under the age of 21 in the state of Louisiana, yet that kind of marketing is often allowed at sporting events already.
According to LSU’s release, “Caesars will not market to students or fans under the age of 21.”
The gaming company has made other inroads in Louisiana recently, buying naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, this summer. That came on the heels of voters in the state approving sports betting last November.
Caesars Entertainment and the Houston Texans announced a multi-year partnership Thursday, making Caesars the official casino partner to the franchise.
The deal goes into effect immediately in time for this NFL season.
Caesars is the official casino and official sports betting partner of the NFL, though gambling has yet to be legalized in the state of Texas. Caesars also has partnerships with the NBA, MLB and NHL.
Caesars’ branding will be integrated into NRG Stadium.
As part of the promotion, one Texans season ticketholder will also be selected each game for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas. The more the Texans score in that game, the value of the trip increases.
The Superdome in New Orleans is on the verge of having a new name.
The Louisiana legislature’s joint budget committee on Thursday approved a 20-year deal to rename the domed stadium the Caesars Superdome.
The approval is one of the final steps needed before the naming-rights deal can become official.
The Advocate in New Orleans reported the deal with gaming and hospitality company Caesars Entertainment is worth approximately $138 million and that the New Orleans Saints will receive all the proceeds.
The stadium, which opened in 1975, cost $134 million in public funds to build. Now the fifth-oldest NFL stadium, it is in need of renovations, and The Advocate reported the Saints have pledged to put the proceeds toward that.
The Superdome didn’t have a name sponsor until 2011, when Mercedes-Benz entered a 10-year agreement worth between $50 million and $60 million. The automaker chose not to renew the contract, which expired July 15.
Crews immediately went to work to remove the Mercedes-Benz signage.
The Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl seven times, and the game will return to New Orleans on Feb. 9, 2025, for Super Bowl LIX.
With more states legalizing sports betting and leagues and teams partnering with gambling organizations, rules are relaxing about the marriage of the two sides.
Hard Rock, which also owns casinos, holds the naming rights to the Miami Dolphins’ home stadium, but under terms of the 2016 deal was not allowed to have gambling references in the stadium.
The Arizona Coyotes of the NHL play their home games at Gila River Arena, which has connections to a casino. The Connecticut Sun call home the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The National Football League named Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel as its first-ever U.S. betting partners on Thursday night.
Specific terms of the agreements were not announced, but the negotiations reportedly involve five-year deals that will pay the league just shy of $1 billion. The NFL has opt-out clauses it can invoke toward the end of the deals if desired.
The NFL could sign additional operator partnerships at a lower tier going forward, according to reports.
“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said Renie Anderson, NFL chief revenue officer and executive vice president of NFL partnerships in a release. “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”
Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel will have permission to use the NFL logo and team marks on their platforms. Additionally, the three companies receive the right to integrate sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties, including NFL.com and the NFL app.
Previously, the NFL had partnered with sportsbooks in Australia and Latin America.
Caesars is betting big on New Orleans and the NFL.
The gambling heavyweight is expected to ink a deal with the New Orleans Saints for the naming rights to their home stadium, the Superdome, according to multiple reports Wednesday.
According to The Athletic, the agreement will be worth $200 million over 20 years, with the Saints being paid $10 million annually. The Sports Business Journal later reported that the anticipated contract would pay the Saints nearly $11 million annually.
No official name has been selected yet, according to reports.
The stadium, which has been the home of the Saints since 1975, currently has a rights deal with Mercedes-Benz that is set to expire in July. Mercedes-Benz is also three years into a 27-year, $324 million naming-rights deal for the home stadium of the Saints’ NFC South rival, the Atlanta Falcons.
The Superdome is in the midst of a $450 million renovation that began in January.
Major League Baseball is following in the footsteps of the NBA and NHL, and on Tuesday announced a partnership with MGM, which now becomes baseball’s official gaming and entertainment partner. MGM already has similar deals with the NBA and NHL, and now will have access to official data and sponsorship rights from three of the four U.S. professional sports leagues.
The deal gives MGM non-exclusive rights to the MLB’s official stats, but the company will have exclusive rights to some of the league’s advanced stats.
“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said baseball commissioner Robert Manfred in an press release. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”
MLB Falls Into Line With NBA, NHL in Naming MGM Its ‘Official Partner’ in a Non-Exclusive Deal
MGM and Caesars are among the members of a new not-for-profit that will monitor integrity in sports betting. The organization, the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association, will bring together key gaming stakeholders, including state and tribal regulatory bodies, federal, state and tribal law enforcement, in an effort to uncover and prevent fraud and other illegal activities related to sports betting and sporting events.
The group is modeled after the Europe Sport Security Association which monitors sports betting and sports events for fraud. 888Sport, PaddyPower/BetFair and William Hill are among ESSA’s members. According to SportTechie.com, ESSA was involved in the creation of SWIMA and the two organizations plan to work together to monitor integrity.
In mid-August, Gold Strike’s next door neighbor, The Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino (a Caesars Entertainment property), will be off and running.
The Horseshoe’s Race & Sportsbook manager Chris McConnell has spent the last 20 years working in sports betting and racing operations or organizations. Sports Handle caught up with McConnell recently for a glimpse into preparations and some words about the wagering menu, the physical property, and an approximate opening.
Mississippi Sports Betting August Rollout: Caesars’ Horseshoe Tunica to Introduce ‘The Book,’ With Regional Props to Come
Sports Handle (SH): Can you tell us what patrons can expect of physical sportsbook space?
CM: First of all, it’s temporary space a right now, and we’re calling it ‘The Book.’ It’s constructed adjacent to our World Series of Poker Bar and our poker room. It’s going have 12 large screen TVs, sized from about 65 to to 75 inches.
And we’ll also have three large screen TVs for updated odds on sporting events. Basically our data wall. And one of them, one of the things that we are going to be doing that’s a little bit different, because we are in SEC country, we’re probably going to do some regional proposition wagers, just for our property here. Within The Book, there’s going to be five [betting] windows presently. One of them is an ADA window.
SH: On or about what date do you expect The Book will open?
CM: We don’t have a hard date on that. I would say somewhere around mid-August. And I suspect when we go to do a launch, we’ll try to do it, a super soft launch like on a Monday. We’re not gonna open up on a weekend. We’re trying to do it the right way for the customers, but also make sure people are properly trained.
What Caesars did here was seek people internally that had some background in that to alleviate downtime and to increase the training right off the bat. Anything they have in Vegas, we’re working on bringing it into The Book.
SH: What can patrons expect of betting menu and odds?
CM: The Book and Caesars sportsbooks will coordinate across the country, so we’re going to be integrated. From a waginerg standpoint, we can take larger wagers if we want to based upon pooling and everything. We’re going to emphasize regional sports and wagering.
We understand that it’s a new experience for a lot of people and we have a lot of tips and handicapping things and a lot more information to hand out for people that don’t know what the lines mean and how to wager. We cater to everyone. Newbies, we have it set up that we’ll have training to assist new people as well as the experienced better.
SH: Any sense of how much appetite there is now for sports betting in Mississippi based on people coming by and asking or calling in?
CM: Well, let me tell you, as soon as we actually put up a few signs right around it, coming soon, you know, Horseshoe Tunica ‘The Book’ … we are literally quite adjacent to the World Series of Poker Room. Tons of people have been asking the poker supervisors and the staff over there. When is it coming? I met with Lisa, who’s the GM over at the poker room and she goes, ‘We must get 20, 30 when is it gonna open?’ questions a day. It’s not so much what’s the offering — they know what it is, but when’s it coming.
(Editor’s note: McConnell noted that Harrah’s Gulf Coast will be opening around the same time, too.):
SH: Will you guys be offering at some point on-premises mobile wagering, which is allowed under the existing regulations as you know?
CM: Yes, but we want to get the live retail stuff going first and then do that. It comes geo-fencing with the property. Well, does that mean like in our property including The Roadhouse? So, define property. Is it the physical location of The Horseshoe? Or does it include our property which is basically next door?
SH: What about the possibility in the future of mobile betting opening up outside the property, which is big in Nevada and for offshores?
CM: We have a long history of working closely with Mississippi Gaming Commission and regulators to bring the latest technology and innovation that is beneficial to our customers and the Mississippi gaming industry to our operations. We will continue to work closely with regulators to improve our operations and customer experience.
SH: To what extent are you guys working with a Nevada-based team to assist in preparations?
CM: The Nevada team will be doing all of our odds. So, that helps us here. Like with MGM, you set your own lines and stuff like that. We don’t have to worry about that. Our thing is customer care — taking care of the customer. Our lines are coming from a team of experts that have been doing it in Las Vegas for years. So, it works very well for the customers. They’re getting the best lines, but the people out here don’t have to worry about moving lines back and forth.
SH: Can you give example of the kind of regional prop you expect to offer?
CM: You could do two Mississippi teams and we could say something like which team will score the most offensive points this week? Like a head-to-head matchup. We can also do same thing with individual quarterbacks or something like that or running backs. So we can do team props, player props, points or scoring. Which team will score the most points in the first half.
Not only for, pro football, we can also do it for college football and things like that. We can keep the regional nature of it if we want to or if people have an appetite for those type of wagers, we can do that also.
So, we can have a little bit different wagers than what is being offered in Las Vegas, even that. It won’t be a whole wall of it. I’ll be three to five easy each weekend type of stuff or each, you know, maybe a Saturday, Sunday, it might be different.
SH: What are you most excited about as you prepare to roll this out?
CM: I think it’s good for the overall industry. I’m in the industry, so I think it’s a good thing in whatever state. I hope more states do adopt it and do it. Will it impact Las Vegas? Las Vegas is so big, people that went to Vegas to bet sports, they go up for a week or else they move there.
We’ve added more people here. We’ve hired more people. We’ve talked about doing it that way. It’s like if they want music or a band or something, well they want sports betting. Once they said we were going to get it, everyone was excited. And once we start putting up those curtains, man, the temperature shot up a thousand degrees because now it’s the reality of it.
So, it’s a good thing that it’s happening in the industry. It’s good for our property and it’s good for the people here. We’re so close to Memphis, we appreciate the people taking the ride down. It’s a little bit different dynamic than say Vegas. These people choose to come here to have fun, to wager responsibly. And so the thing for me, from managing the racing and sports, I want to give them the best that I can. You know, they made the effort, we gotta make the effort times ten back to them.