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As we mentioned on Wednesday, when South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham did not appear to have a firm grasp on how college football recruiting really works, the Senate is holding hearings pertaining to NIL (name, image and likeness). Another piece of news to come out of that was Pittsburgh athletic director Heather Lyke asking the Senate to ban betting on college sports.
Lyke testified that ACC presidents unanimously agreed that gambling on college athletics should be illegal: “We urge Congress to directly address gambling on intercollegiate athletics and prohibit it,” Lyke told the committee, as described by ESPN’s David Purdum. If you read the whole story, there are also quotes from Senator Graham as well as American Gaming Association President and CEO Bill Miller who said:
“We realize some stakeholders remain concerned about bets betting placed on collegiate events — based primarily on the presumption that unpaid, amateur athletes are more at risk of being corrupted by those seeking to influence the outcome of sporting competitions … While that may indeed be the case, it is also perhaps the most compelling reason to apply strict regulatory oversight, and that only comes from the legal market.”
Miller, in my opinion, hits on the crux of it. You may never totally eliminate game fixing and point shaving from sports, but the best way to do it is through an above-ground regulated marketplace. Our casinos and sports gambling institutions are almost certainly better equipped to notice and subsequently shine a light on irregular gambling activity on college athletics than, say, the NCAA. But if they are out of the business and bets on college sports are placed through bookies or offshore, the opportunity is greater for game fixers to slide under the radar.