NCAA, NBA Weigh Banning Player Prop Bets Amid Scandal Concerns

The NCAA and NBA consider banning college player prop bets and certain NBA prop bets amid integrity concerns. Industry experts warn that such a ban could drive activity to offshore markets, reducing visibility and making it harder to detect suspicious wagering.

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Bijay Laxmi
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NCAA, NBA Weigh Banning Player Prop Bets Amid Scandal Concerns

NCAA, NBA Weigh Banning Player Prop Bets Amid Scandal Concerns

The NCAA and NBA are considering banning college player prop betting and certain NBA prop bets in the wake of the Jontay Porter scandal, but sports betting watchdogs caution that such a move could drive activity to offshore markets, reducing visibility and making it harder to detect suspicious wagering.

Why this matters: The potential ban on player prop bets highlights the ongoing struggle to balance the growth of sports betting with the need to protect the integrity of sports and the well-being of athletes. As the sports betting industry continues to expand, effective regulation and monitoring will be crucial to preventing corruption and ensuring a level playing field.

Scott Sadin, COO of Integrity Compliance 360 (IC360), which works with around 120 sportsbooks and 145 sports properties worldwide to detect suspicious wagering using data, stated, "By banning those props, you're pushing more activity and engagement to offshore underground markets where that lacks visibility, that lacks collaboration, that lacks access to data."

Matt Fowler, head of global operations for the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), echoed similar concerns, emphasizing that a broad market offering is crucial to attracting players to regulated markets. "Demand will always be met elsewhere. If there's too much restriction in the regulated market or a market isn't regulated, the activity seeps offshore. Prohibition really doesn't work," Fowler noted.

The NCAA is lobbying state regulators to ban college player props to curb student-athlete harassment and avoid misuse of inside information, while the NBA is reportedly considering measures such as banning bets on the Under on a player prop. In Ontario, the local regulator identified suspicious betting patterns due to regulated markets requiring online gaming companies and independent integrity monitors to actively monitor and report suspicious betting.

The legalization of sports betting in North Carolina as of March 11, 2024, has raised concerns about increased pressure on student-athletes from fans expecting certain performances. Carter Hicks, baseball director of player and program development at UNC Chapel Hill, noted that social media provides an avenue for fans to share their opinions, sometimes at the expense of the players.

Michael Spragley, a UNC CH cross-country and track athlete, suggested that betting agencies should launch educational campaigns to emphasize the humanity behind athletes and regulate fan comments. "They see them as dollars, an opportunity to make money. But these are human beings, they got hopes and dreams and anxieties and stress," Spragley said. He also noted that sports betting adds pressure to student-athletes, affecting their quality of play, and that the integrity of track races could become problematic if betting on track was a bigger deal.

As the NCAA and NBA grapple with the potential consequences of prop betting, industry experts stress the importance of maintaining a regulated and transparent market. Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), expressed his concern, stating, "My concern is let's not push it underground. And how do we make sure we keep things above board because that's where we're able to regulate it or able to discern if there are problems involved."

Key Takeaways

  • NCAA and NBA consider banning college player prop bets and certain NBA prop bets due to integrity concerns.
  • Banning props may drive activity to offshore markets, reducing visibility and making it harder to detect suspicious wagering.
  • Regulated markets need a broad offering to attract players and prevent activity from seeping offshore.
  • Student-athletes face increased pressure from fans expecting certain performances, affecting their well-being and quality of play.
  • Industry experts stress the importance of maintaining a regulated and transparent market to prevent corruption and ensure integrity.