Industry Reports

US Sports Betting Legalization Could Jeopardize College Athletes

For some time now, the vice president of data integrity at Don Best Sports, Kenny White, has been receiving complaints from his customers that they were constantly been destroyed on Mid-American Conference football and basketball game bets from 2004-2006.

Mr. White did his best to ensure constructing more competitive lines but in the following year, the problem occurred again. Following some investigation and analysis, a suspicious activity at the University of Toledo was revealed. The incident in Toledo ended up with seven former football and basketball players being brought to court and received sentences, including monetary fines and probation.

The recent decision of the US Supreme Court to remove the federal ban on sports betting and legalize such wagering options in the country have brought other National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) gambling scandals, which happened throughout the years, to light. In addition, concerns have been raised that amateur athletes are to be put at the highest risk of being affected from gambling-related harm, as they do not have actual paychecks that could be used to fuel their gambling habits.

As explained by Mr. White, amateur athletes normally receive a fixed regular sum on a monthly basis, which, however, is not salary. According to him, the lack of paychecks could result in some of them being tempted to participate in match fixing or other illegal activities. Still, the extent of possible gambling-related harm that could be inflicted to college athletics remains unknown.

College Athletes More Susceptible to Gambling-Related Harm

For the time being, the NCAA has not commented on the matter, except for an official statement released by its president Mark Emmert after the announcement of the US Supreme Court’s decision. As revealed by Mr. Emmert at the time, the Association supports the federal model on legalized sports gambling operations and believes that strong federal standards are needed in order to keep the integrity of both college sports and young athletes.

At the time when the statement was released, Mr. Emmert also shared his concern about the possible effect that the legalization of sports betting market could have on student-athletes. According to him, sports wagering could have a negative impact on such young athletes and undermine the games they play. He also reiterated the NCAA commitment to make sure that the legislative and regulatory framework in the region promotes a fair and safe environment for the students who play college sports.

According to a number of sports betting experts, the legalization of the sports betting market would inevitably have some influence on amateur sports and college athletes. The experts have shared that college athletes are normally more susceptible to gambling-related harm due to their young age and lack of salary while playing for their college teams. That is why they recommended further monitoring not only for the professional sports leagues but for the amateur college leagues, as well.