Last night, the men’s college basketball tournament started, and with it came even more shocking statistics about the rise of sports gambling in the United States and concerns about addiction among young people who are still in high school.
The stats are first.
According to the American Gaming Association, 45 million people in the United States are expected to bet on the NCAA basketball tournament this year, which starts in March (AGA). This is a lot: That’s about 17% of the adult population in the United States. That’s a lot more than the number of people who bet on this year’s Super Bowl (31 million).
Because we can bet more dynamically on our phones, the simple office bracket is losing popularity. This is bad news for your one coworker who loves to run it every year. More than 76% of people plan to make March Madness bets outside their brackets this year, the American Gaming Association says. This is up from 55% last year, the AGA says.
Now, there are some things to think about.
A lot of people worry that students will be more interested in Michigan +200 than Econ 200 because sports betting apps are trying to make college campuses more like sports bars.
Apps have made their way in. There are at least seven schools that have signed advertising deals with sports betting companies, Bloomberg says. These schools include LSU, the University of Maryland, and the University of Colorado. If you want to bet on sports, you can get $300 in free bets from LSU’s athletic department. They sent emails to students with the subject line “$300 in Free Bets.”
Colleges used to be afraid of betting partnerships, but now…
Things changed after the US Supreme Court ruled that states could legalise sports gambling in 2018. Some collegiate athletic departments were looking for new sources of revenue after the pandemic slashed their budgets, so they teamed up with gambling apps.
People in some government jobs have tried to fight back against this. There should be no betting on college sports, says an athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. He says betting on college sports is bad for college athletes and the public. When it comes to betting on games played by college teams in your state, Bloomberg says that some states still don’t allow it.
If you look at the big picture, college sports betting may be too big to fail already. US Integrity, a sports betting watchdog, says that betting on sports in the Power 5 conferences is now worth $11 billion a year.