Charlie Baker, the former Governor of Massachusetts, became the president of the NCAA a few months ago, and it seems he’s already making some huge changes in the industry. He is worried about how the legal gambling business affects college athletes, as well as the complete integrity of amateur sports. What concerns him the most are “prop bets,” the form of betting that is hard to follow and trace.
Risky betting on individuals:
These proposition bets are bets that allow the gamblers to bet on individual players, and they’re legal in eight states, such as Kansas, Nevada, and Ohio. They are a significant risk when it comes to college sports competitions.
Baker talked to CBS News about this. Since the NCAA was against legalizing sports betting in the state, the concern isn’t surprising. However, when he was a governor, he supported legalizing some of the sports betting practices but not college athletics.
Sports gaming brought significant revenue to the state. Only in 2022 the gamblers placed bets worth $93 billion. In 2023, more than $15 billion was spent during the NCAA March Madness tournament.
The players might be affected:
The main Baker’s concern is the pressure that is put on college players because of the amount of money their friends are spending on them, especially when it comes to the prop bets since they’re deeply personalized and can greatly affect the player.
One more concern is sharing sensitive information about the game with gamblers, which is the reality of college games. There’s a real possibility that someone on the campus can try to compromise the player.
As Baker said, the student might say something like this: “What I’d really appreciate is if you could just miss your first couple of free throws this week — it won’t affect the outcome of the game, but it would really help me…”
Baker wants the states to help the NCAA in banning prop bets on college games. According to him, the NCAA is already working with gaming companies to create a list of prohibited bettors who are known to harass players or their coaches. This legislation is required in order to avoid putting the players under police protection during the events, which already happened last spring.
Baker said: “The challenge for us is going to be to do everything we can to educate student-athletes and schools so that people get a sense about what they need to do to stay out of trouble. And just as importantly, that if they do engage in some of this activity, it’s gonna get discovered, and it’s gonna get discovered quickly.”