This week, the NCAA released its first-ever sports betting e-learning module. This free online resource is just one of the many responsible gaming initiatives for college athletes. Athletes in North Carolina now have access to this and other resources before sports betting becomes legal in the state sometime next year.
The NCAA module aims to educate current and future student-athletes, “on problem gambling’s harms and the risks sports betting poses to the integrity of their games.”
The North Carolina Lottery Commission is currently drafting regulations for sports betting including responsible gambling. It can take cues from the NCAA and other states on best practices for reaching a population vulnerable to illegal gambling activity.
North Carolina’s responsible gaming initiatives for college athletes
The NCAA prohibits student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials from betting on any sport in which the NCAA conducts a national championship. However, betting still takes place and, in some cases, leads to athletes being permanently banned from playing.
According to the NCAA’s sports wagering e-learning module, “college students in general have up to two to three times higher risk of developing a problem gambling addiction than adults older than college age.”
– East Carolina University (ECU).
– High Point University.
– Duke University.
– UNC Pembroke.
The list of NCLC-funded programs also includes a gambling research and policy initiative at ECU. The university is a leader in gambling research. The research is under the direction of Dr. Michelle Malkin, an associate professor of criminal justice at the school.
The focus of the NCAA’s new module
The NCAA’s multi-part and interactive sports betting e-learning module features educational content. Former student-athletes, including Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin, former Central Michigan women’s basketball player Mikala Hall, and Sioux Falls graduate Joshua Butler, a former college football player, deliver the content.
The module focuses on NCAA gambling rules, types of gambling, and how to recognize gambling addiction. It also discusses handling online harassment from bettors. The module includes examples, scenarios, and quizzes. When students complete the module, they receive a certificate.
The NCAA created the learning tool after receiving feedback from athletes and campus leaders.
“One of the first things I did when I took over as NCAA president was gather as much information as possible about sports betting on college campuses,” NCAA President Charlie Baker said. “This educational resource is directly informed by that data. We believe this new program will help protect student-athletes from the risks that come with sports betting. The data is clear that athletes with firsthand experiences connect with current student-athletes better than any other material we could develop, so we are incredibly grateful for their participation in this effort.”
A survey of thousands of 18-to-22-year-olds commissioned by Baker found that at least 58% have engaged in at least one instance of sports betting.
On college campuses, the rate is even higher, including:
– 67% of students living on campus who bet at a higher frequency.
– 41% of college students placing a bet on their school’s teams.
– 35% having used a student bookmaker.
Obviously, problem gambling is a serious issue among the college population.
Sports betting is now legal in nearly 40 states. The resources from the NCAA and the NCLC have a wealth of information to help develop effective programs to combat illegal sports betting among students. These resources also provide information for athletes on how to handle harassment and get treatment for gambling addiction.