Charlie Rogers of Aberbeen, a former NFL player, displays his betting slips during March Madness, the NCAA menâ€™s college basketball tournament, at Monmouth Park’s William Hill Race and Sports Bar in Oceanport, NJ Thursday March 21, 2019. Hill07 Charlie Rogers of Aberbeen, a former NFL player, displays his betting slips during March Madness, the NCAA menaTMs college basketball tournament, at Monmouth Park’s William Hill Race and Sports Bar in Oceanport, NJ Thursday March 21, 2019.
Fred Faour: Sports leagues need to get consistent on how they handle betting
When sports betting started becoming legal, it opened up the possibility that there would be problems in pro and college athletics. Yet another investigation is currently under way.
College athletics should be monitored closely. If there is criminality involved, they should be punished. Cheating is unacceptable. If they were just betting, they should still be punished. College kids won’t want to hear this, but they are not ready to gamble, no matter how educated they are. The poker boom in the 2000s busted hundreds of thousands of college students with online play. You read the stories about the prodigies, but you never heard about all of those that wasted their money trying to be the next big poker star.
Sports betting is the same. Of course, some people who don’t fix games will do well. But the majority will lose on a consistent basis. Sports betting (and poker) takes years of losing before you become a consistent winner. So in college, this should be monitored closely. Of course, there are exceptions – some people just have an innate skill – but they are rare.
Pro leagues are a different story. The NFL suspended Calvin Ridley for a year for betting a parlay. But the NFL makes millions in partnerships with Fan Duel, Bet MGM, and others. You can’t watch an NFL game without seeing an ad. Eventually, every stadium in a legal betting state will have kiosks, as they do in Europe. Forget the hypocrisy of the NFL decrying gambling for years – now that they have embraced it, they need to find consistency. The question is how?
NFL players have been betting illegally for years. Most bet on other sports. That should not be an issue. But there are ethical questions. Should they be allowed to bet on other NFL games? What if they get info from a friend that the quarterback on a team is going to be out before it is announced? Isn’t that insider trading? And what about betting on your own team? Shouldn’t that be allowed? Betting against your team should be a no no.
These are all issues that need to be debated and regulated moving forward. Before it was legalized, do you know who figured out most of the scandals?
Las Vegas. Where it was legal.
In this new world, the blanket “don’t do it” rules simply don’t work.
Yes, with college athletes, don’t do it. But the pros need real, fair rules that address all the issues. That’s the new world, and consistency is key. It’s time to have some.