Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has joined the NCAA in calling for sportsbook operators to stop offering prop bets for games involving collegiate athletes.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission is now reportedly considering heeding that request in response to a letter published last week by NCAA president Charlie Baker. Baker expressed multiple concerns, including what he calls a “signifcant increase” in the harassment of student-athletes on Ohio campuses because of betting.
Here’s more on the latest news involving NCAAB prop bets.
Striving for Solutions
DeWine — who legalized sports betting in Ohio before its launch in January 2023 — shared DeWine’s sentiments in a statement.
“One year into sports gambling in Ohio, we have seen a marketplace develop where a number of bad actors have engaged in unacceptable behavior by making threats against student-athletes in Ohio and across the country,” DeWine said. “By amending rules to focus bets on the team and away from individual athletes, I believe we can improve the marketplace in Ohio and better protect student-athletes from unnecessary and potentially harmful threats.”
Under this proposal, bettors would still be allowed to wager on the outcome of collegiate games in Ohio sportsbooks, including the spread, moneyline and Over/Under totals. It also would have no affect on prop bets for professional sports. The NCAA also requested that specific team props to be removed — for example, team passing yards. The reason being, such props are overly dependent on the performance of one player.
Baker also expressed concerns about the possibility of players manipulating the betting market by wagering on themselves. The NCAA is already exploring one instance in which this may have occurred following last month’s arrest of New England Patriots receiver Kayshon Boutte. Boutte was accused of creating an online betting account under a fake name and then placing nearly 9,000 illegal bets while he was underage and played at LSU. Boutte allegedly won more than $50,000, with a majority of that money used to place additional wagers.
“Sports betting without appropriate controls poses real risks to the well-being of student-athletes and to the integrity of collegiate competition — risks which are heightened by individual prop bets,” Baker said in a statement.
As for the next steps, OCCC executive director Matt Schuler asked the state’s betting operators to respond with any concerns by Monday. Conceivably, that will help Schuler decide if the NCAA is reasonable in its proposal.
DeWine and Baker also have a backer in Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who said in a statement that collegiate athletes “should not be faced with harmful threats, and changing the wagering rules in Ohio can help put an end to this.”
Last January, Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant expressed dismay over hateful messages that both he and his players received following the push in gambling statewide. Grant suggested the attacks came from people about upset about gambling losses.
“There’s some laws that have recently been enacted, that really to me — it could really change the landscape of what college sports is all about,” Grant told reporters. “And when we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me.”
There are currently 20 licensed online sportsbook operators in Ohio in addition to more than a dozen land-based sportsbooks. Bettors are allowed to wager on several different collegiate sports, with basketball and football obviously among the most popular.
According to the OCCC, Ohioans wagered $7.6 billion on sports alone in 2023. That resulted in more than $900 billion in taxable revenue for the state. Stay tuned for more updates on news involving NCAAB prop bets.