Three days before Louisiana State University (LSU) crushed Purdue in the Citrus Bowl, regulators in New Jersey ordered sportsbooks in the state to stop accepting wagers on the game, citing a violation of the state’s gaming laws.
Last Friday’s order from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) also directed NJ sportsbooks to void wagers that were placed on the game after December 15, according to a report by ESPN.
To be clear, the order by NJDGE did not name a specific individual who had run afoul of the state’s gaming laws other than to say it was “an individual associated with the Purdue football team.” Additional reporting by ESPN identified the individual as retired NFL quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees was hired by his alma mater, the Purdue Boilermakers, as an interim assistant coach on December 15. The hire appears to have been just a temporary position for Brees to help the Boilermakers prepare for Monday’s Citrus Bowl matchup with the LSU Tigers.
Exactly one week later, PointsBet tweeted it had ended its business relationship with Brees — citing regulatory compliance concerns. PointsBet hired Brees as a brand ambassador in July 2021.
“While this is an exciting next step in his career, after careful review, we have decided to end our ambassador partnership agreement with Drew,” PointsBet said. “Regulatory and legal compliance, responsible gaming practices, and the integrity of legal sports betting are top priorities for our organization, and this decision will allow us to uphold that commitment.”
NJDGE said the individual it had flagged had violated a statute of the state’s gaming law — specifically, 5:12A-11(f), which pertains to the issuance and renewal of sports wagering licenses. The section in question bars athletes, coaches, referees, and others from having “any ownership interest in, control of, or otherwise be employed by an operator.”
In its announcement from July 2021 that it had hired Brees as a brand ambassador, PointsBet disclosed that the NFL legend “will also become a significant PointsBet shareholder, taking an equity stake in the company to further illustrate the shared vision [between Brees and the operator].”
Regulators in Indiana did not appear to have an issue with PointsBet having a business relationship with Brees for precisely one week before the arrangement was scuttled. Wagers from Indiana’s sportsbooks — including PointsBet, licensed in the state — from accepting bets on the Citrus Bowl.
LSU romped at the Citrus Bowl, defeating Purdue by a score of 63-7.
NJ Has Restrictive Gaming Laws
There are restrictive rules regarding real money sports betting in New Jersey. Bets on college sporting events in New Jersey are illegal under the state constitution. They are also illegal on sporting events where a college team from New Jersey participates, regardless of where the event occurs.
BetMGM Sportsbook NJ ran afoul of the rules governing college sports betting when it accepted wagers on in-state college sporting events on two occasions in March 2021.
The last time PointsBet appears to have caught the regulator’s attention was one year ago when it began providing live dealer games in the state through a partnership with Evolution.