NCAA Launches Responsible Gaming Campaign

Posted on: March 23, 2024, 11:16h. 

Last updated on: March 23, 2024, 11:16h.

It’s the NCAA’s busiest time of the year, as its men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments — aka March Madness — are in full swing. In conjunction with the heavily bet hoops games, the governing body of collegiate sports deployed a new responsible gambling campaign.

NCAA March Madness responsible gambling
Oakland Golden Grizzlies sharpshooter Jack Gohlke makes one of his 10 three-pointers during the team’s upset of the Kentucky Wildcats during the First Round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 21, 2024. The NCAA is reminding students to bet responsibly if they decide to make a wager on this year’s college basketball tournaments. (Image: Getty)

Titled “Draw the Line,” the initiative seeks to better educate students about participating in sports betting. The campaign debuted on social media this week during the tipoff of the March Madness tournaments.

“Draw the Line” is aimed at college students and includes a toolkit for universities and colleges that provides resources to assist those who seek help.

The American Gaming Association expects the 2024 March Madness brackets to attract over $2.7 billion in legal bets, many of which will be placed by college students. An NCAA study last year found that 67% of 18- to 22-year-olds residing on college campuses had bet on sports whether legally or illegally.

Sports betting is everywhere — especially on college campuses — so it’s critical student-athletes get the real story about how it can impact them,” said NCAA President Charlie Baker.

Baker is supportive of legal, regulated sports betting but has campaigned for stronger student-athlete protections like prohibiting oddsmakers from offering prop bets on an individual player’s performance.

“We know some bettors are harassing student-athletes, so that’s why we are advocating for policy changes at the state level and launching monitoring tools around championships to refer serious threats to law enforcement. The NCAA is doing more than ever to protect the integrity of the game and arm student-athletes with the truth about sports betting,” Baker added.

Portnoy Bets Big

While he presumably has the bankroll to comfortably make such a wager, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy made a big bet on the men’s March Madness tournament. The businessman and social media personality revealed this week on X that he has $600,000 riding on the University of Connecticut to cut down the nets at State Farm Stadium in Glendale near Phoenix.

Portnoy risked $600,000 on UConn at +360 to win the NCAA national championship for a second consecutive year. If the Huskies pull off the feat, it would be only the ninth time a program won the natty back-to-back. Portnoy would net $2.76 million.

The businessman, who sold Barstool to Penn Entertainment for north of $500 million only to buy it back for just $1 after Penn encountered regulatory concerns because of Portnoy, acknowledged that the large bet should probably have a larger return.

+360 is not great odds but at the same time great odds. Yes, I am worried that everybody is picking them,” Portnoy said.

Portnoy placed the bet with DraftKings. Penn folded on its Barstool Sportsbook in favor of utilizing the ESPN brand for its sports betting business in a deal worth $1.5 billion.

Portnoy also has $25,000 on the longshot New Mexico Lobos to win it all. The bet would net $575,000 if the unlikely scenario happens.

Brackets Busted

Portnoy certainly isn’t alone in thinking the Huskies are the team to beat. ESPN’s Tournament Challenge reported that nearly 25% of the brackets have UConn going all the way.

After just the First Round of the men’s bracket, no brackets remain perfectly intact. Upsets by Oakland, Yale, Grand Canyon, James Madison, Duquesne, and Colorado rendered all brackets imperfect.

Mathematicians say the odds of someone completing a perfect bracket are about one in 9.2 quintillion.

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