How do you craft a responsible gambling message for college students? It’s harder than it sounds, which helps explain Caesars Sportsbook’s first-of-its-kind partnership with New York University.
This semester, Caesars has been exposing 16 NYU graduate students — quartered off in teams of four — to the emperor and all his clothes. Having familiarized themselves with the brand, these teams next month will present what they believe are viable responsible gambling marketing strategies to Caesars executives — including Creative Director Daniel Isenberg — with one quartet declared the winner.
“The interest in the student body with sports betting, the legalization of it, the app going live in New York, there was interest in working with Caesars Sportsbook,” said Isenberg, peering across the water at the Manhattan skyline from his Jersey City office.
He added that he considered the collaboration with NYU’s Real World program “an interesting opportunity to connect with the new generation of sports fans, or sports bettors.”
The participating NYU students were recently Isenberg’s guests at Madison Square Garden during an NHL matchup between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. In explaining the impetus for the outing, Isenberg said, “How do we get some sort of real-world outing so they can live the brand? What better place to do that than at the world’s most famous arena? We spent a lot of the time there talking with the students about their ideas and some of the thoughts they’ve been kicking around, some of the research they’ve been doing.
“The conversations that we’ve had so far, you can tell that the students are really thinking about responsible gaming and sports betting and the Caesars Sportsbook brand as a whole through their lens. [There’s been] a lot of talk around streaming applications, esports, sports leagues that are moving forward in popularity. The technology and culture that’s connected to their generation seems to be a hot topic.”
Vetting students for future jobs
Caesars chose to work with grad students instead of undergrads “because of the sports betting age” of 21 in New York, said Isenberg. And while the winning team’s presentation might well become actual corporate policy, that’s not the sole objective of the partnership, which marks the first time NYU has ever worked with a sportsbook.
“Dan hopes that he will get ideas that are right and viable, that are implementable. But really, the ultimate goal is to have a responsible relationship between an industry and academia, to create the kinds of leaders that Caesars would like to see and we’re trying to produce,” said David Hollander, an assistant dean at NYU who started the Real World program about a decade ago. “What better talent evaluation could Caesars have than a 14-week vet of 16 students to really see, ‘Oh, she’s smart. Let’s bring her in for an interview.’”
To this end, Isenberg said Caesars’ human resources department was “excited about this opportunity,” adding, “Here’s this pipeline into great talent right in the tri-state area. From the students we’ve met and worked with, it seems like there are a few that would be a great fit.”
“I created the Real World program because I teach sports business,” Hollander explained. “I quickly felt that after you teach the fundamentals of the business, it’s really important to throw [the students] in the water. That’s what they chose NYU for — to be in NYC. To be in NYC meant access to executives like Daniel Isenberg. I felt it was professionally irresponsible for me not to help them have that experience.”
Photo courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook