NCAA To Advocate for Updated Sports Betting Laws for College Sports

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The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is embarking on a lobbying initiative for the enhancement of sports betting laws across various states. The newly published policy guideline has a particular focus on safeguarding student-athletes from potential harassment and coercive behaviors from sports bettors.

NCAA President Charlie Baker has first-hand experience in establishing a sports betting program from his two-term tenure as the governor of Massachusetts. He aims to use that experience to help protect college athletes from bad-behaving sports bettors.

“The NCAA is making changes to help student-athletes make smart choices when it comes to sports betting, but given the explosive growth of this new industry, we are eager to partner with lawmakers, regulators, and industry leaders to protect student-athletes from harassment and threats,” said Baker in a press release.

Earlier in 2023, a concerning NCAA report found that 27% of colleges with top division sports teams had reported issues with sports betting, including problem gambling, coercion, and harassment or abuse.

Working with Lawmakers in Upcoming Markets

The NCAA has outlined several provisions intended to shield student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and college sports personnel from sports betting’s uglier side.

It plans to lobby and work with states that are looking to legalize sports betting in the coming years to include these measures in their legislative frameworks. The first market that could see some of these changes is the North Carolina online sports betting market, which is coming later in 2023. Two more markets are on the way for early to mid 2024, with Vermont sports betting and Maine online sportsbooks currently taking shape.

“With several states still considering legalizing sports betting, the NCAA plans to work with lawmakers to include the provisions outlined below in pending legislation,” said the policy document that accompanied the press release.

“All the provisions the NCAA is advocating for are currently in place in at least one state, but not all, creating an uneven playing field and leaving student-athletes vulnerable.”

These provisions include mandatory reporting hotlines for gaming commissions, the enforcement of anti-harassment measures from the gambling industry, and mandatory education for bettors and gambling personnel. The NCAA emphasizes that as more states enact or amend laws, further actions need to be taken to ensure a consistent protective framework across all jurisdictions.

Addressing Varied Aspects of Sports Betting

The NCAA’s recommendations encompass various facets of sports betting, such as establishing prohibited bettors’ lists, setting a minimum betting age of 21, and implementing marketing and advertising standards that mandate the inclusion of information about harassment hotlines in college sports betting marketing materials.

Additionally, the NCAA is advocating for additional funding to support higher education students who are deemed at risk of problem gambling behaviors. It also says it will ask for more funding to investigate offshore sportsbooks that offer college sports betting.

“It’s incumbent on lawmakers to act to protect this highly vulnerable population from the dangers of sports betting,” says the policy document.

The NCAA has historically been against sports betting’s expansion across the U.S. The organization represented the losing anti sports betting side in the 2018 court case against New Jersey, that ended in the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and the eventual expansion of the U.S. regulated sports betting market.  

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