Money, as we know, talks. When it comes to sports betting, though, it’s more like a shout.
The American Gambling Association estimates that about $150 billion is wagered each year on sports, with all but $5 billion of it done illegally, through local bookies or off-shore accounts. That’s why some believe widespread legalization of sports betting won’t greatly impact college athletics.
Wanna bet? Maybe it won’t change the reality that people like to gamble on sports, but it sure as hell is going to change how schools and conferences approach sports betting. You can’t monetize illegal betting, but bring that stuff inside the tent and it’s off to the races.
In states that pass new laws to introduce sports betting, Youmans expects 75% of sports bettors who have been gambling illegally to turn to legal avenues and 25% to continue betting in the shadows with bookies and online outfits.
You do the math. That’s some sweet action and you can bet the schools are going to want their fair share of it. Of course, there will be a price.
Meanwhile, league officials have at least briefly discussed the potential for standard, mandated injury reports across the conference, something that Andrews believes is needed. At many Las Vegas casinos like the one where he works, betting limits are lower for college games than for their NFL counterparts because of the lack of school-issued injury information during game week.
“Only thing we’re worried about right now is what will be the mandate for coaches and athletic departments to let us know what the injury situation is,” Andrews said. “We’ve been shooting in the dark all these years. We’re kind of used to that, but if it’s going to become something nationwide, they need to address that like the NFL.”
They need to.
Not to worry, as long as the checks keep coming. The NCAA and its membership have shown no problem embracing the needs of their broadcast partners. There’s no reason to expect this embrace to be any less warm. Although I’m not sure “gambling partners” has the kind of ring schools prefer. Ah well, it’s all for a good cause in the end.