Sports Gambling Approval Could Set Off Wave of Changes

Sports Gambling Approval Could Set Off Wave of Changes


On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal law that had banned gambling on individual sporting events in 46 states.

The Court’s  decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which forbade state-authorized sports gambling, now opens the doors on a plethora of potential changes in the sports industry. In its decision, the Supreme Court notes that the U.S. Congress can regulate sports betting if it wishes to do so, but that if it does not, individual states will be free to allow sports gambling on their own.

The tentacles of the decision also will extend down to West Virginia and the collegiate level.

The Mountain State is one of five that have recently passed laws or instituted movements to allow gambling on sporting events in casinos and at racetracks, and with billions of dollars at stake, that number is sure to climb.  States are eyeing the potential of a cut of all gambling proceeds to help fix ailing state budgets, but those moves will open up a number of other issues on the collegiate level. Chief among those is the potential for game-fixing and influence peddling, which West Virginia University, along with most every large Division I school, will be concerned with.

While programs currently exist to educate student-athletes about the dangers of sports betting and attempts to fix games, those will likely have to be beefed up in order to combat heightened awareness and advertising that is sure to follow the approval of single-game betting. WVU vice president Rob Alsop and director of athletics Shane Lyons attended a meeting last week in Charleston to voice their concerns over the ramifications of sports betting and its influence on campus.

The NCAA, which runs a program with the tagline “Don’t Bet On It” that is intended to keep student-athletes from being involved in gambling, released a statement bowing to the inevitable.

“Today the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held otherwise,” the prepared missive from NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy said. “While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”

On the local level, it’s expected that WVU and other schools will make requests for additional funding for education of its student-athletes on gambling and game-fixing. That money could come from the overall handle on bets, but requests or proposals aren’t  even in the formative stage as yet.

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