Gambling firm Entain is teaming up with EPIC Risk Management to help teach responsible gambling practices to college-athletes and students in the United States. To this end, the company is investing $137 million.
Entain to Help College Athletes Cope with Gambling Pitfalls
Entain is forging ahead with a new initiative, this time aiming to help college athletes find out more about the potential dangers of participating in unauthorized gambling contests against a prohibition for student-athletes to make wagers.
So far, 40 schools have confirmed their participation in the training program, along with prestigious colleges as UNLV, Monmouth, Harvard and Oregon. Traditionally, Harvard and other schools have been firmly against sports betting on collegiate events.
The company, which will make the growth of its BetMGM sports betting brand a priority in 2021, is working together with EPIC Risk Manager to address concerns amid the rapidly-expanding gambling industry in the country.
The initiative is spearheaded by the Entain Foundation US, a special charity arm that will address responsible gambling in the United States. The company will invest $137 million to ensure that responsible gambling is in the focus of student-athletes’ attention over the next five years.
To this end, Entain has chosen to team up with EPIC, which is a consultancy which speciality lies in detecting potential risks related to gambling, basing any problems and issues on past experience.
EPIC is partnered up with the NFL Players Association and USA Rugby to ensure that it receives support not just from sportsbooks but sports bodies, too. The campaign will focus on helping athletes stave off any potentially ambiguous situations, such as being approached by match-fixers or being offered some other way to benefit from their inside knowledge of the sport.
Match-fixers have become sophisticated, too, and they may just as well ask athletes to miss a shot here or there before they actually make a bigger request. The potential short-term benefits could seem significant to athletes, too, with poor students tempted to exchange the integrity of the game for a quick monetary incentive, which is precisely what Entain will seek to address.
Monmouth athletic director of compliance AJ Schaufler has warned that athletes will be targeted and that it’s important for students to understand how to counteract such attempts, and not least understand problem gambling.
College Sports and Prop Bets
College sports have always been a bit of a contentious bone whenever legislators across the country have discussed the legalization of sports betting as a whole. In many states, there are exceptions that prohibit residents from betting on local teams, but allow you to bet if you are backing an out-of-state team.
College athletes, coaches, and general staff are prohibited from participating in any type of gambling, regardless of what the contest is, and NCAA has generally tried to stay away from betting sponsorships.
This changed in 2020 when the pandemic depleted many sports programs considering waiving their objection to sports betting partnerships. The University of Colorado became the first one to sign such partnership with PointsBet in September.
Meanwhile, concerns about micro markets remain. Prop bets and live bets make it hard to detect match-fixers and the NCAA has historically held out against them. This is unlikely to change and Entain’s new initiative will enjoy strong support from colleges and schools.