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More Than Half Of College-Age Americans Betting On Sports

Friday, May 26th, 2023 -- 10:15 AM

Axios Sports reports that More than half of college-age Americans are betting on sports, including two-thirds of those living on college campuses, per survey results released Wednesday by the NCAA.

 The survey, commissioned by new NCAA president Charlie Baker and conducted last month, polled 3,527 people in the U.S. aged 18-22.

  • 58% of respondents have participated in at least one sports betting activity, which includes both daily and season-long fantasy sports.
  • 67% of on-campus students have bet on sports, and 63% recall seeing advertising for sportsbooks, which the NCAA notes is higher than the general population's rate.

As legal sports betting surges nationwide, the NCAA wants to "better understand what student-athletes are experiencing on their campuses … so we can best help them deal with [its] potentially disruptive dynamic," Baker said Wednesday.

This survey comes in the wake of three recent college sports betting scandals, illustrating why Baker is so keen to get a better grasp of the environment.

  • Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired earlier this month amid an investigation into potential match-fixing.
  • Over 40 athletes at Iowa and Iowa State are under investigation for violating NCAA gambling rules, which prohibit athletes from betting on any sports — college or pro — in which the NCAA conducts a championship.
  • It doesn't appear those athletes engaged in match-fixing, but beyond breaking the rules, some of them may have broken the law: Iowa is among the 27 states where you must be at least 21 to legally wager on sports.

The NCAA said it will conduct an athlete-only survey later this year — the first since 2016, two years before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act's repeal paved the way for legal sports betting. At that time, 24% of male athletes and 5% of female athletes said they wagered on sports. Something tells me the updated numbers will be slightly higher.

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