Caesars Entertainment has become the first betting and gaming operator to strike a deal with a college sports tournament in the US.

As part of its deal with the Fiesta Bowl Corporation, the Las Vegas-based operator will establish fan lounges at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale and Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, both in the state of Arizona.

Arizona is set to fully legalise sports betting on 9 September, with the above fixtures scheduled to take place around New Years Day. Fans of college American football will be able to place bets on the game via the recently launched Caesars Sportsbook app, regardless of whether they are attending the games or not.

Speaking to KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas, financial analyst Steve Budin said: “This is a big first step in allowing gaming companies into college sports via online gaming. This makes perfect sense from the Fiesta Bowl’s perspective and it makes perfect sense from Caesar’s perspective.

“You’re lining up people who would normally bet on the game, and now they can do it easily through a phone app or an iPad.”

The agreement comes as Caesars continues to consolidate its position in the growing US sports betting market, most notably purchasing the US assets of British bookmaker and online gaming provider William Hill.

Announcing the Fiesta Bowl deal yesterday, Dan Shapiro, Chief Development Officer of Caesars Digital, remarked: “We’re thrilled to work with the Fiesta Bowl Organisation on this landmark partnership to bring college football fans closer to the game and build awareness around the importance of responsible gaming practices.

“These fans are unrivalled in their passion, and we look forward to offering Caesars Sportsbook to them this fall. Our offering provides a leading user experience where every wager gives players more through our award-winning Caesars Rewards.”

College athletics begin to embrace sports betting with Caesars deal