New Jersey sportsbooks halt Citrus Bowl betting over Drew Brees conflict

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Legendary Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be on the field for Monday's Citrus Bowl in Orlando, serving as an interim assistant coach for Purdue (his alma mater) in its game against 17th-ranked LSU. It’s a nice gesture and perhaps a chance for Brees, whose analyst career at NBC lasted all of one year, to test the waters in a relatively stress-free environment, determining whether he wants to pursue coaching on a full-time basis.

However, state regulators in New Jersey don’t see it that way, citing Brees for a conflict of interest, owing to his past business relationship with PointsBet. As a result, New Jersey sportsbooks will no longer accept wagers on the Citrus Bowl while refunding all existing bets, according to ESPN’s David Purdum.

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Per New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, Brees’ participation violates statute 5:12A-11 (f), prohibiting all athletes, coaches and referees from holding “any ownership interest in, control of, or otherwise be employed by a [betting] operator.” Brees, who ranks second to Tom Brady in both touchdowns (571) and career passing yards (80,358), came aboard as a brand ambassador in 2021 and at one point held an equity stake in PointsBet, though the sides have since parted ways.

“After careful review, we have decided to end our ambassador partnership agreement with Drew,” the company said in a press release. “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. We wish Drew all the best as he returns home to his alma mater."

Before his appointment to Purdue’s coaching staff on a trial basis, Brees had been a prominent figure in PointsBet’s promotional materials, appearing in countless ad spots including a recent publicity stunt, with many on social media fearing the 43-year-old had been struck by lightning as part of a viral marketing campaign. Outside of New Jersey’s legal jurisdiction, bettors can still wager on the game with LSU entering as 14-point favorites ahead of Monday's 1 PM ET kickoff on ABC.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Chris Graythen, Getty Images