As online sportsbooks become more and more popular a question has come up – should people be able to bet on the results of college sports matches?
The answer right now is “yes,” but the United States Senate began holding hearings Thursday about whether that should remain the case. At issue is the fact that college athletes make no money at all. Therefore the thought is that they might be susceptible to bribes from people who have bet a lot of money on the matches.
This is similar to the thinking about why baseball players are paid so much money today. Back before they made a ton of money they often had to work part-time jobs in the offseason. This led to the Chicago Blacksocks scandal where multiple players were found to be accepting bribes during the World Series.
Heather Lyke, the athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh was present in the Senate on the behalf of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the University both.
“The introduction of legal wagering on intercollegiate athletics will have a corrosive and detrimental impact on student-athletes and the general student body alike. Gambling creates pressures and temptations that should not exist,’” she testified.
Not surprisingly this view was not shared by Bill Miller, president of the American Gaming Association. He argued that by making it illegal to bet on college games you’d drive that betting underground to mobsters who would try to fix games.
“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,” he said.
We agree with Miller. If betting is public then officials can monitor the odds and the outcomes. It would readily become apparent if someone tried to fix a match. Therefore there is no risk when it comes to legal gambling on sports.