States React to Controversy over Prop Betting

May 3, 2024

By Austin Spears

Plenty of controversy has followed the legalization of sports betting in America. Apparently, the controversy is just beginning, especially in college athletics, where the prospect of college athletes making prop bets has become a flash point.

 “A prop (or proposition) bet is a type of side wager on parts of a game or event that may have nothing to do with the final outcome,” according to a recent article in Forbes. Essentially, it is betting on how a specific player performs and not on the outcome or total team performance in a game. Prop bets make up a substantial part of the sports betting industry, with Jay Croucher, Head of Training at PointsBet, stating in August 2022 that prop bets could soon make up 50% of all bets placed on the company’s platform (SBC Americas). NCAA president Charlie Baker recently called for a ban on all prop bets in college athletics stating, “Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity and competition and leading to student athletes and professional athletes getting harassed.” (ESPN)

The main reason prop betting on college athletes is controversial is their public availability and lower safety precautions compared to professional athletes. San Diego State Athletic Director JD Wicker spoke on this recently, stating, “Our student athletes are going to class, they’re more available in the community… So there’s a lot more opportunity for one of them to be pressured, for them to have something negative happen because maybe they miss the free throw or they miss the over the under, all those types of things.” (The Reveille) An NCAA survey completed at the end of 2023’s March Madness found that 58% of 18-22 year olds are gambling, showing the heightened risk as these athletes’ classmates and counterparts are actively wagering money on them (The Reveille). Another main reason prop betting is controversial is its relative ease of fixing lines compared to team outcomes. For example, it is a lot easier for an individual player to intentionally score under their projected point total than it is for them to make their whole team lose. A specific example of a player betting on their own prop bets recently occurred in Louisiana. Investigators found that former Louisiana State wide receiver Kayshon Boutte placed over 9000 bets before turning 21, including multiple on his team and his own individual receiving yards and receiving touchdowns prop bets (WBRZ). Banning prop bets will greatly improve the safety of college athletes in Louisiana and help prevent them from making illegal bets, like the ones Boutte placed, on themselves.

Louisiana Heeds the Call from Charlie Baker      

Louisiana heard the calls from Baker and quickly acted, with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board passing a Motion to suspend all proposition bets on college athletes within the state. The order is set to go into effect at 8 am on August 1st, 2024. Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, said shortly after the ruling, “Our staff began to work on this weeks ago, well ahead of the NCAA’s call for action on college proposition bets… It is the intention of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to protect the integrity of sports betting as well as the safety and integrity of college athletes. We feel that this order accomplishes that goal.” (WGNO)

The Louisiana ruling puts them in agreement with Vermont, Ohio, and Maryland, which have recently banned prop bets on college athletics. Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Oregon had already banned these bets before the recent push by the NCAA. Illinois, Connecticut, and Iowa also don’t allow college prop bets for in-state teams. This stretch of states banning college prop bets has begun to inspire even more states to consider similar bans, as New Jersey, Kansas, and Wyoming will all consider the ban at a meeting scheduled for May 9th (The Reveille).

These rulings come at a time when sports betting has become increasingly talked about across sports. Over the past few years, multiple shockwaves surrounding betting have hit sports. NBA insider Shams Charania signed a deal with FanDuel in 2022 (The Washington Post), blurring the lines between unbiased reporting and potentially aiding sportsbooks. In 2023, ESPN unveiled the recently rebranded PENN entertainment as ESPN BET (Fortune), marking the sports mega company’s full-time move into the gambling space. In the past few months alone, the NBA has been tied to substantial sports betting controversy. First, the company integrated multiple different forms of betting lines into their League Pass app (SportsPro), making it easier than ever to bet live on NBA games. Then, just a few days ago, the NBA banned Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter for life from the NBA after investigations showed he intentionally disclosed confidential health information to a known NBA bettor and also placed 13 bets himself on NBA games using an associate’s online betting account (NBC News).

Overall, the modern sports betting landscape is ever-evolving. More and more states are legalizing sports betting as a whole, yet restrictions are also being added as drawbacks like college prop bets are discovered.

Austin Spears is a sophomore Sport Management major at UT Austin. He is currently an analytics intern with the Texas Longhorns baseball team and plans to pursue a career in sports law.


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Li, David K. “Jontay Porter Banned from NBA for Gambling on Games, Giving Info to Bettors, Limiting Play for Betting Purposes .” NBCNews.Com, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 Apr. 2024,

“NCAA President Charlie Baker Calls for Ban on College Prop Bets.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 27 Mar. 2024,

Platana, Devon. “What Is a Prop Bet?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024,

“Should Have Placed a Wager on This: Louisiana Bans Prop Bets Involving College Athletes.” WBRZ, 3 Apr. 2024,

Stenger, Ethan. “A Closer Look: Should NCAA Player Prop Bets Be Legal?” The Reveille, LSU’s Student Newspaper, 11 Apr. 2024,

Strauss, Ben. “Shams Charania to Appear on FanDuel NBA Show.” The Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2022,

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