LEAD1 Association, which represents the athletics directors of the 131-member institutions of the Football Bowl Subdivision, recently prepared this summary of a recent webinar on legal sports betting.
The U.S. is the only country in which widespread sports betting occurs on college sports events. With Americans betting billions of dollars on college sporting events including college football (estimated $1 billion is bet annually on college football), and NCAA March Madness (estimated 68 million Americans bet on the 2023 NCAA Tournament), there is considerable risk borne by our universities. In fact, $100 million was bet on this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament, and more and more money is being bet on other college sports, including baseball and softball.
In this regard, U.S. Integrity reports at least 120 instances of nefarious sports wagering activities annually among professional and college sports, including15-18 alerts regarding such activities per month.
In November 2022, Ultimate Fighting (UFC) was rocked by a sports wagering scandal after suspicious betting activities were detected at sportsbooks in multiple states. Additionally, with the recent NFL news on players gambling on sports, college sports must carefully monitor sports wagering activities on campuses as well as educate all stakeholders.
To help mitigate the risks of legalized sports wagering, athletics departments must:
- Know how many of your students and athletes are gambling, especially on sports betting;
- Include gambling in campus wellness surveys, risk prevention & educational programs;
- Ensure your college has a comprehensive gambling policy for all students, including athletes;
- Ensure your college has problem gambling prevention, counseling resources available for students and athletes; and
- Ensure there a safe harbor in conjunction with mandated reporting for athletes with gambling problems. Otherwise, they will never come forward until there is a scandal, and then it’s too late.