The North Carolina State Lottery Commission has many tasks to complete before it launches North Carolina sports betting in 2024. But if the National Collegiate Athletic Association has its way, one of those decisions is clear: outlaw prop bets on college sports.
NCAA president Charlie Baker hopes the NCAA can convince states of the danger of collegiate prop bets.
“I think prop betting in some respects is one of the parts I worry about the most,” Baker told CBS News.
North Carolina online sports betting will launch between Jan. 8 and June 14, 2024. Regulators are currently drawing up rules and regulations that can take special aim at Baker’s concerns.
Collegiate prop bets a line in the sand for many state regulators
A prop bet or “proposition bet” is tied to the specific outcome of a player in a game or to an event in a game. For example, how many points over or under a player scores in a basketball game, or which player scores the first touchdown in a football game.
Prop bets have become a popular option for sports bettors. Currently, as many as nine states allow prop bets on college athletics, and every state (more than 30) that has legalized betting in the U.S. allows that activity for professional sporting events.
As governor of Massachusetts Baker opposed allowing any form of betting on college sports, but that state does allow such activity. However, college prop bets are not permitted. Massachusetts took issue with the protection of the student/athlete.
North Carolina has just released its second round of proposed rulemaking for sports betting and parimutuel horse racing. Regulators have not yet announced whether they support college prop bets, but they have put forth a system for governing bodies like the NCAA to petition to have a specific bet type outlawed.
NCSharp has taken up the arguments for and against prop bets tied to NC college sporting events.
Could regulators specifically outlaw collegiate prop bets? If so, why?
The NCLC has the authority to make the rules for sports betting in North Carolina. That includes the topic of prop bets. There are several reasons Baker as head of the NCAA, opposes prop bets for college sports.
First, undue pressure can be placed on student-athletes when they consider how many bettors have money on their performance. Some of those bettors could be their classmates or friends and family.
Second, outside influences could be placed on them to act against the integrity of the sporting event. For example, a gambler may ask a college athlete to “let up” in a certain area of the game (the first quarter of a football game) to ensure the bettor wins their wager.
Because a prop bet may not affect the outcome of a game, an athlete may feel they can “let” someone win a prop wager without influencing the game. Baker explains that education and enforcement are crucial for addressing the possible pitfalls of athletes being involved in betting schemes.
“The challenge for us is going to be to do everything we can to educate student athletes and schools,” Baker told CBS News, “so that people get a sense about what they need to do to stay out of trouble. Just as importantly … if they do engage in some of this activity, it’s gonna get discovered and it’s gonna get discovered quickly.”
Student-athletes could experience harassment from fans who lost bets based on their specific performances.
Baker says the NCAA is trying to create a coalition of gaming companies, sports betting operators, the NCAA and lawmakers to draft legislation to create an exclusionary list of bettors who have harassed school officials or athletes. According to Baker, schools and the NCAA have stepped up security recently because of fears from angry sports bettors.
The North Carolina Lottery Commission is hosting a public hearing at the NC Education Lottery Headquarters in Raleigh on Nov. 20. The Commission hopes to solicit feedback on its second round of sports betting rules. For those who can’t participate in person, they may send their comments to the NCLC via an online form by Nov. 27.
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