Former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who recently became the president of the NCAA, is already making waves in the industry by expressing concerns about the impact of legal gambling on college athletes and the integrity of amateur sports. His main focus is on the issue of “prop bets,” a form of betting that allows gamblers to bet on individual players, which poses a significant risk to college sports competitions and the players involved.
Baker, who had previously supported the legalization of certain sports betting practices but not for college athletics during his tenure as governor, is now advocating for a ban on prop bets in college games. These bets are legal in eight states, including Kansas, Nevada, and Ohio, and have contributed to a significant increase in sports gaming revenue. The NCAA president highlighted the risk of pressure being placed on college players due to the amount of money their friends are wagering on them, particularly with deeply personalized prop bets that can greatly affect the player.
Another concerning aspect is the potential for sensitive game information to be shared with gamblers, which could compromise the integrity of college games. Baker stressed the need for legislation to prohibit prop bets on college games and mentioned that the NCAA is already collaborating with gaming companies to create a list of prohibited bettors known to harass players or their coaches. This measure is aimed at preventing situations where players might require police protection during events, as has already occurred in the past.
Baker emphasized the importance of educating student-athletes and schools about the dangers of engaging in such activities and the likelihood of being discovered if they do. He is seeking the support of states in enacting measures to safeguard college players from the pressures and risks associated with prop bets in the increasingly competitive and lucrative landscape of college sports.