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  • Catie Di Stefano from OnlineGamblers.com on the college prop bet ban
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Proposition bets, commonly known as prop bets, are wagers placed on specific events within a game rather than the game’s outcome itself. 

These can range from predicting how many points a basketball player will score to the number of touchdowns a football player might secure in a match. 

While prop bets and sports betting in the US can add an additional layer of fun to sports events, they come with their own set of controversies, especially around college sports.

Recently, several states have been reconsidering the regulations around prop bets on college sports. 

Furthermore, some states, such as Ohio, Maryland, and Vermont, have already taken action by outright banning college prop bets. 

But why have some states taken such drastic actions, you may ask? 

Well, worries about the potential impact on student-athlete’s mental health and the integrity of college sports are what’s driving the college prop bet ban. 

Let’s have a look below at the growing concerns about college prop bet gambling in the USA and the data that supports this potential change in regulation to promote responsible gaming.

The demand for college prop bets

Ultimately, the American Gaming Association estimated that patrons would bet $2.7 billion on the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in 2024. 

Hence, action needs to be taken as soon as possible if we want to protect the next generation of players in the USA.

For example, when Ohio decided to prohibit these types of bets recently, on March 1, 2024, they highlighted that the reason for the ban was a growing need to protect young athletes from the pressures and potential harassment associated with gambling. 

This is after 2023, when Ohio saw over $104.6 million wagered on NCAA player props alone. 

Yet Ohio has now reconsidered and removed this betting option completely from their legal betting options. 

In addition to the fear of increasing match manipulation, athletes have sometimes experienced threats, online harassment, and other unprofessional communication from bettors who are unhappy with the athlete’s performance in relation to their bets. 

As a result, the ban has come into effect in order to protect these young athletes in Ohio. 

Likewise, Maryland also banned sports bets on individual college player props on March 1, 2024. 

With $124.5 million wagered on college basketball between November 1 and January 31, Maryland no longer offers the option to place these bets for March Madness 2024. 

Vermont only legalized sports betting in January this year, but it was quick to follow the new trend by banning college prop bets on March 12, 2024. 

The NCAA’s stance

Furthermore, the NCAA has been a vocal opponent of college prop bets. 

Under the leadership of NCAA president Charlie Baker, the organization has urged states to eliminate these betting markets. 

Citing incidents like former LSU player Kayshon Boutte’s arrest for betting on his own performances, Baker emphasizes the need to safeguard the well-being of student-athletes and maintain the integrity of collegiate competitions. 

As a result, the NCAA’s initiatives also include proposed legislation for a “prohibited bettors list” to combat harassment and partnerships with data science firms to identify threats.

But the NCAA isn’t the only one having issues with college prop bets. 

In the past few months, the NBA has also looked into Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter over possible problems with prop bets on his scoring, rebounding, and assist totals in a few games. 

Most likely, we will see a lot of changes in regulations around college prop bets in the next couple of years due to the many rising issues across the nation. 

In a recent social media post, NCAA president Charlie Baker stated:

“This week we will be contacting officials across the country in states that still allow these bets and asking them to join Ohio, Vermont, Maryland and many others and remove college prop bets from all betting markets. “

So it seems like there will be a lot of action soon around college bets in the USA, and rightfully so in the name of responsible gambling. 

Additionally, the NCAA has developed e-learning modules on gambling-related harms in a proactive effort to protect athletes and preserve the sanctity of collegiate sports. 

And while states like Louisiana have followed the NCAA’s call, where the new college prop bet ban is effective August 1, 2024, others like Montana and Arizona have opted not to impose such restrictions. 

Montana, for example, believes that its unique demographic and the limited scale of college sports betting do not require a ban, so the betting option is still available there. 

In contrast, Arizona has prohibited prop bets on individual NCAA athletes, so the approach is very diverse from state to state in the US.

Why are states considering bans?

The push to ban college prop bets comes from several key concerns:

Integrity of Sports: Ensuring the games remain fair and free of manipulation.

Athlete Well-Being: Protecting young athletes from unnecessary stress and potential exploitation.

Public Confidence: Maintaining trust in collegiate sports as a wholesome and corruption-free activity.

Apart from Ohio, states with more complex regulations or outright bans on individual prop bets on college sports include New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, New York, Illinois, and Michigan. 

According to Charles E. Moore, who is the executive director of the Wyoming Gaming Commission, the commission will consider the NCAA’s request to ban collegiate player prop bets at its meeting on May 9, 2024. 

Lastly, the NCAA’s efforts to standardize the prohibition of these bets reflect a broader attempt to align state regulations with the principles of responsible gambling, which is something I am very passionate about. 

At OnlineGamblers.com, we believe in proactive responsible gambling, meaning that players should set deposit, time, and loss limits before they start playing online. 

However, considering the growing exposure of gambling to young and vulnerable adults in the USA, the increasing use of credit cards, and the availability of black market crypto casinos, we as an industry have to be more innovative in how to approach responsible gambling. 

Therefore, perhaps a nationwide ban on college prop bets would be a step in the right direction, in my opinion.

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