NCAA Looks To Protect College Athletes From Sports Betting With Stricter Laws, Education Opportunities

With the continued rise of legal sports betting, professional and college athletes alike are subject to increased bribery, harassment, and coercion. And research shows, they’re feeling more and more tempted to participate in gambling themselves.

To protect student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and sports personnel from harm, the NCAA has introduced new responsible gambling education initiatives and will begin advocating for stricter sports betting laws.

NCAA Introduces Sports Betting E-Learning Module

In its latest step to address problem gambling issues, the NCAA has debuted a sports wagering e-learning module for student-athletes.

The free module provides an engaging learning experience via interactive scenarios, helpful information, Q&As, and other educational resources. To make the information even more captivating, it’s all delivered by former student-athletes.

By involving well-known players in this education campaign, the NCAA hopes to curb harmful gambling behavior and educate athletes about the risk is poses to the integrity of sports.

The introduction of this campaign comes in the wake of gambling scandals such as those reported out of Iowa and Iowa State.

An NCAA-commissioned survey of 18 to 22 year-old athletes found that 58% have participated in sports betting at least once. Moreover, 16% of those surveyed have participated in one or more problem gambling behaviors, with 6% having lost over $500 betting on sports in a single day.

NCAA To Advocate For Stricter Sports Betting Laws Protecting College Athletes

A total of 38 states currently offer some form of legal sports betting. But the specific laws and regulations protecting these athletes vary drastically. While some states have integrated safeguards for players, the vast majority have not.

In anticipation of sports betting’s continued national growth, the NCAA plans to advocate for research-driven, survey-based provisions to be integrated into every state with legal sports betting.

NCAA President Charlie Baker said:

“Some states have great policies on the books to protect student-athletes from harassment and coercion and to protect the integrity of the games, but as more states pass or amend laws, more needs to be done.”

 Proposed NCAA Regulation Provisions

To begin the rollout, the NCAA will first work with lawmakers in states currently contemplating legal sports betting to encourage implementation of such provisions in pending legislation.

  • Mandatory hotlines where gambling authorities can report suspicious activity to law enforcement
  • Penalties for bettors who participate in student-athlete harassment
  • Mandatory harassment identification education for sportsbook operators

Under these suggested provisions, sports betting would feature a 21+ nationwide age limit. Additionally, future sports betting advertisements would offer information about the harassment hotline and include wording condemning athlete harassment.

States would allocate a portion of sports betting revenue to problem gambling education initiatives for student-athletes — an age group that’s already at higher risk of developing a problem. The NCAA also plans to revise its student-athlete reinstatement guidelines with educational requirements.

Ongoing NCAA Protection Efforts

Each of the NCAA’s proposed updates is currently available in at least one US state. But none are available nationwide, leaving student-athletes in many states without protection.

In the meantime, the NCAA is conducting a national sports betting survey to gauge sports betting interest. And the association continues working alongside industry experts, regulators, mental health advocates, and professional sports leagues to prevent further player harm.

Through its partnership with EPIC Risk Management, for instance, the NCAA has helped educate over 20,000 student-athletes, coaches, and administrators about the risks associated with gambling. EPIC also aids the NCAA in monitoring more than 13,000 contests and screening roughly 18,500 officials each year in an attempt to detect and prevent integrity concerns.

With these new supplemental efforts, the NCAA can continue ensuring the integrity of its association while offering better protection to everyone involved.

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Alec Cunningham is a lead writer and analyst for Lineups.com. She has covered countless online sports betting and casino legislation topics and now specializes in responsible gambling and gambling addiction recovery. In 2022, she served as a panelist at the All-American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry. As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. After working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer, she returned to her love of written word in 2020. Since then, Cunningham's love of sports has led her to become a responsible gambling advocate.

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