Category Archives: Bet On It

Today, in strategic partnerships

Honestly, I don’t know how they expect Mark Emmert to keep a straight face at the next Congressional hearing.

The University of Colorado has signed a deal with PointsBet to serve as an official sports betting partner in a major step to dismantling college sports’ decades-long aversion to gambling.

The Boulder-based school has a new five-year deal with the betting operator, which is building its U.S. headquarters in nearby Denver. Legal sports betting went live in Colorado in May, and partnering with the state’s biggest athletic department is a way for PointsBet to separate itself from the sports books currently taking bets there.

It is among the first—and likely the most in-depth—partnerships between an athletic department and a sports betting operator. William Hill, for example, has been advertising with the University of Nevada Las-Vegas and University of Nevada Reno since 2017, the company said.

The PointsBet deal, which covers sports betting, fantasy sports, casino games and free-to-play contests, was negotiated by Colorado’s commercial partner Learfield IMG College. PointsBet will have signs placed at the school’s football stadium and basketball arena, plus a presence on radio broadcasts and other media. It also includes career development opportunities for Colorado students.

Yeah, I’d say that’s well on the way to dismantling a gambling aversion.  When should we expect to see an in-stadium sports book?

And this may be the most cynical quote of 2020 (there’s some pretty stiff competition, too):

“This isn’t a deal just to get PR, this is a long-term view for both parties, and both parties had to get very comfortable with one another,” Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet’s U.S. business, said in an interview. “It is centered around education and those career pathways, and being in-state, the trust factor is heightened because we’re just miles away, not a plane flight away.”

“It is centered around education”?  Dude, I think you misspelled “money”.


Filed under Bet On It, It's Just Bidness

I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Meet the next Georgia gold rush.

Four of Atlanta’s major professional sports franchises are putting their weight behind an effort to allow betting on games.

Presidents of the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United have formed the Georgia Professional Sports Integrity Alliance and sent a letter to state lawmakers asking them to legalize online and mobile sports betting…

Billy Linville, a lobbyist who is representing the coalition of teams, said the franchises would not see any revenue from sports betting, but that allowing the practice would engage fans who tune in to watch and see how their bets play out — driving up viewership and interest in the games.

“The question isn’t if Georgians are going to bet on sports,” Linville said. “It’s whether they’ll wager in an illegal market or bet in a fully regulated environment that protects consumers and integrity of games.”

These guys are so thoughtful, amirite?

If you’re wondering why I post about this, don’t think Butts-Mehre isn’t watching this development with a careful eye, not because they’re concerned about stopping it (although that would be in line with the Georgia Way we all know and love, especially if they could figure out a way to allow only Magill Society folks to bet in Sanford Stadium… I keed, I keed.  I think.), but because of the potential revenue streams flowing from legalized online betting.

But West Virginia’s Joint Standing Committee on Finance spent most of its time Monday trying to figure out whether Governor Jim Justice – who owns the Greenbrier – and West Virginia Lottery officials were still pushing plans to offer the major sports leagues a cut of the state’s betting handle or require betting operators to use league-supplied data to judge wagering results[Emphasis added.]

Ah, the ol’ “integrity fee”, surely one of the great Orwellian phrases of our time, and/or making it a legal requirement to use official conference statistics in online wagering.  Expect the latter to be a standard proposal in the South once Greg Sankey is able to get up off his fainting couch.

These people may not be geniuses, but they’re certainly shrewd enough to know how not to miss many meals.  It’s coming.


Filed under Bet On It, Political Wankery

A stupid and futile gesture

Good luck on enforcing this, Purdue.

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees of the West Lafayette-based public university approved the adoption of a so-called “sports wagering policy.” The policy applies to all faculty, staff and non-athlete students (Purdue’s student-athletes and coaches, like those at other colleges, are already barred from betting on sports by NCAA rules). Purdue’s new policy expressly prohibits gambling on sporting events involving Purdue teams, coaches or student-athletes. It governs wagers made in person as well as bets made online and through mobile technologies.

The university’s statement does not offer reasoning behind the policy’s adoption.

Reasoning?  There was reasoning?

I cannot even begin to list all the difficulties that surround this policy.  How in the world does the school plan to track wagering in all its different forms?  And how does it plan to punish people who engage in a legal activity?


Filed under Bet On It

Coming soon, to a stadium near you

How ’bout this as the ultimate fan friendly experience — on-site betting?  Talk about a whole new set of wallets to fleece… what’s that, you say?  No way anything like that ever sees the light of day in the Bible Belt?  Um, not so fast, my friend.

Senators will get the first crack at sports betting. The initial meeting will occur Tuesday in the offices of the Georgia Lottery Commission. It is a second, post-Labor Day hearing that will bear closer watching.

That will happen at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. The proposed witness list is impressive: Derek Schiller, president of business for the Braves; Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons; and Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks. (We reached out to all three organizations, which declined comment.)

“They will come talk about it, and explain how it might work,” Beach said. “What they’re trying to do is drive attendance. The fans want it. The franchises need it.”  [Emphasis added.]

In researching this column, a skeptical GOP leader told us that the push to expand gambling in Georgia has always lacked the voices of “local people of influence.” Atlanta’s three largest pro sport franchises might fill that gap.

Their argument is that high-definition television has made sports enthusiasts far too comfortable in their living rooms. On-site betting would be a new way of keeping ticket-holders engaged and in paying seats.

The Tennessee online-only example offers an alternative to those opposed to casino gaming, fearful that brick-and-mortar operations serve as hubs for sex-trafficking and other bad behavior.

Participants will be able to place bets on smart phones from any location, whether stadiums or sports bars or home. “Geo-fencing” will allow Tennessee to require that bets be placed only by those inside the state.

Those same digital fences could be made much smaller in a Georgia version, perhaps restricting bettors to Phillips Arena, SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Those brick-and-mortar casinos wouldn’t have to be build. They would already be an established part of the landscape.

“Okay,” you say, “fine, that’s the pros”.  No way that trickles down to the college level…

We understand that sports betting has some support from local metro Atlanta interests who hope a portion of the revenue might be applied toward the ballooning expenses associated with hosting such major events as the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four.

There’s a fine line between covering expenses and looking for a more direct path for coming up with money to cover those expenses.  Perhaps all it’ll take one day is Kirby Smart explaining to the Georgia legislature that their vote is needed to help Georgia win a natty to do the heavy lifting to get this across the finish line.  How many gamblers do you figure would like to join the Magill Society?

Maybe I kid, maybe not.  All I know is that if there’s enough political cover for it, nobody’s turning down new money.


Filed under Bet On It, Georgia Football, Political Wankery

TFW gambling meets amateurism

Man, what a dilemma for college sports — all that money to be made from tapping into gambling’s insatiable demand for data tempered by the risk posed as a result of not paying the hired help ($$).

“The topics of gambling on college sports and the compensation of collegiate athletes are entirely intertwined with one another and cannot reasonably be separated,” said Marc Edelman, a professor at Baruch College who specializes in sports law. “Today, there is far less concern about professional, commercialized athletes fixing games than there was in 1919 because the minimum salary in the four premier professional sports leagues is approaching half a million dollars. You are not going to have players like Shoeless Joe Jackson, who feel that they are not earning enough money to live a life in which they are entitled. The lone exception to that is college sports, which is a $13 billion industry and which coaches make many millions of dollars per year.

“That is entirely the NCAA’s own doing, by keeping its athletes even more impoverished than the players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox.”

That, essentially, is why some key voices in college athletics are sounding alarms. Their athletes are the most vulnerable by far.

“Sports wagering is going to have a dramatic impact on everything we do in college sports,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said at the NCAA convention this year. “It’s going to threaten the integrity of college sports in many ways unless we are willing to act boldly and strongly.”

Somehow, I don’t think that means what Emmert thinks it means.


Filed under Bet On It, The NCAA

Thursday morning buffet

A veritable smorgasbord for you…


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Bet On It, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery, SEC Football, The Adventures of Zook, The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Thursday morning buffet

Pac-12 Media Days, a target-rich environment.

  • The Pac-12 announced yesterday that the 2020 and 2021 host site for the Pac-12 Championship Game will be located in Las Vegas.  Gambling, for the win!
  • Mike Gundy“When asked how he would coach his son, Gunnar, if the situation arose: “I told him, if you come to Oklahoma State, I’ll coach you like I do everybody else… If you’re the best player, you’ll play. If not, you won’t play — even though I’m sleeping with your mom.”  (h/t Ben)
  • “A four-month external review of the Pac-12’s officiating program determined it is “predominantly consistent with best practices in the industry” and does not need a major overhaul.”  Of course it doesn’t, bless their hearts.
  • Secondary market ticket prices for Georgia-Notre Dame are going through the roof.
  • For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus looks at two Georgia transfer quarterbacks’ futures and notes that Jacob Eason has a better surrounding cast than does Justin Fields.
  • Herbie describes Jake Fromm as “arguably the best leader in the country”.
  • David Shaw says the move to an eight-team CFP field is inevitable because, in part: “If we can go from 64 to 65 to 68 (in the NCAA basketball tournament), we can go from four to eight. Don’t talk about time, we can make it work.”  By that reasoning, there’s no reason to stop at eight, is there?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Bet On It, Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Pac-12 Football, Stats Geek!

When they say it’s for the kids

Never underestimate the ability of conference commissioners to use concern for student-athletes as a lever for any topic.

“We’re seeing trends in the mental health area that should cause us all to pause before these ideas around specific event betting within college sports are allowed to take place,” he said. “And I’m talking about, for example, whether a field goal is made or missed, whether a 3-point try is successful. Is a pitched ball a strike or a ball?

“That pause should happen before any of these types of activities take place.”

Sankey managed to say that with a straight face — after the SEC announced it would be a regular participant in the Las Vegas Bowl, that is.  He’s not a sports psychologist; he just plays one in Hoover.

All I can figure is that he’s angling for some sort of health fee to be levied on sports books.  Because you never know when Rodrigo Blankenship might crack under the pressure of a $50 bet on whether he makes that 45-yarder.

Comments Off on When they say it’s for the kids

Filed under Bet On It, SEC Football

“[BLANK] imposes risks that have the potential to undermine the integrity of both the institution and the sports contests…”

If you filled in the blank with “Ending amateurism”, you got it wrong.  Not that the NCAA cares…


Filed under Bet On It

Not so bad, now that we think about it.

This didn’t take too long.

The board also voted to rescind the NCAA Championships Policy Related to Sports Wagering, which prohibited hosting championship competitions in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. The decision follows the board’s temporary action last year to suspend the policy following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports wagering.

The board also reinforced its support for federal legislative sports wagering standards. While the board stressed that an exemption of college sports in any federal or state legislation is desired, it emphasized that any proposed legislation should protect student-athlete well-being and the integrity of games.

Nice touch with the “student-athlete well-being” nod there, Stacey.  As long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line, anyway.

Speaking of bottom lines, how long do you figure it’s going to take the NCAA to come up with an official March Madness pool?  Lotta money being left on the table, folks.


Filed under Bet On It, The NCAA