Ohio Reverses Course, Bans Betting On NCAA College Player Props

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NCAA betting on college player props has been banned in Ohio after initially being allowed, the state gaming regulator announced Friday

Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, laid out the decision in a letter addressed to NCAA president Charlie Baker and the state’s legal sports betting operators.

The NCAA sent a letter to the OCCC proposing the betting ban on Jan. 31, and Gov. Mike DeWine publicly supported the proposal. Operators have until March 1 to fully implement the restrictions and void all affected outstanding wagers. 

Baker, DeWine laud NCAA betting ban

Baker and DeWine both issued statements lauding the decision.  

“Today’s decision by the Ohio Casino Control Commission to prohibit player-specific prop bets on collegiate competitions marks a significant step in the protection of student-athlete well-being and game integrity,” Baker said. “I thank The Commission for recognizing the serious threats posed by prop bets and implementing controls to help safeguard student-athlete mental-health from the risks of sports betting harassment and abuse.”

DeWine also cited increased student-athlete protection from threats.

“The Ohio Casino Control Commission took quick action to protect student athletes from unnecessary and potentially harmful threats,” DeWine said. “Amending rules to focus bets on the team and away from individual athlete will improve the marketplace in Ohio and properly focus betting attention on the teams and away from individual student athletes.”

Why ban NCAA player prop betting?

Eight sports betting operators in the state “general objected” to the ban.

College player props made up 1.35% of Ohio sports betting wagers made in 2023 ($104.6 million of $7.65 billion.) 

“The operators are assuming that all those in the market to make these bets will go to illegal operators or bookmakers to place bets if the NCAA’s request is approved. The operators failed to provide any factual basis to support this assumption,” Schuler wrote.

“While some may revert to illegal operations, the vast majority of Ohioans engage only in legal gambling activity. Given the relatively small percentage of wagers placed on player-specific prop bets, I perceive the risk of a black market boom to be low.” 

Dayton coach led threat conversation

More than a year ago, Dayton University men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant spoke out in frustration over his players receiving gambling-related threats. Legal sports betting opened in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023

“There’s some laws that have recently been enacted, that really to me, it could really change the landscape of what college sports is all about,” Grant said as part of a longer answer. “And when we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me. They have families. They don’t deserve that. Mental health is real. So if you’re a Flyer fan, I ask you just to understand what you’re dealing with, with young people. Alright? Take a step back, and reevaluate your priorities. And if you can’t, we don’t need you. We don’t need you.” 

Grant declined further comment on Friday’s announcement to LSR via a spokesperson, saying he was focused on his current team.