NCAA: College Prop Bets Threaten the Integrity of the Game

Sports betting legalization in the US is gathering pace after residents of 6 additional states voted in favor of gambling expansion measures on the presidential elections November 3, yet certain types of wagers raise concerns regarding the integrity of the game.

NCAA Worried About College Prop Bets

Naima Stevenson-Starks, vice president for law, policy and governance at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) expressed concerns regarding sports betting on individual performance at college level. Speaking at the two-day online Sports Betting USA 2020 event, the NCAA official suggested that gambling regulators should consider restrictions on proposition bets involving college athletes to protect the integrity of the games.

Bets on individual player performance raise concerns even for professional leagues, after the National Football League (NFL) made statements along the same lines regarding its own players a few years ago. Yet, the prop bet segment for professional players is a much larger segment of the sports betting market and it would be unwise to restrict it, Stevenson-Starks acknowledged, implying college prop bets restriction would not have that much of an impact.

The NCAA official was not the only participant considering the adverse effect of individual bets on the integrity of the game. Cathy Judd-Stein, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, also present at the Thursday virtual seminar, noted that one of the things regarding future legislation for sports betting in her state would be to provide safety for amateur athletes as a means of protection against exploitation from interested parties.

College Player Bets Survey

Currently, prop bets on college sport are not so popular among bettors at licensed operators, with the bulk of proposition being available at unlicensed offshore websites making them beyond the reach of any regulatory restrictions.

At DraftKings, prop bets on college sports events usually include which team would score first or last and how many points a team will score, a spokeswoman from the Boston-based sports book explained. Indeed, its current college football game on offer did not include betting on individual players. There were no player prop bets at the Golden Nugget sports betting website either, while FanDuel noted its college props market is small.

Naima Stevenson-Starks also raised the subject of federal regulation for sports betting to replace the state-by-state approach, noting that the current state of affairs would not be supportive of a push to enact such a law, but “it is something that should be on the radar”, as individual state regulatory frameworks pose difficulties for organizations like the NCAA.

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