Ohio Gov. Supports NCAA Prop Bet Ban, Regulators Want Operators’ Input

Written By Dan Holmes on February 2, 2024 - Last Updated on February 5, 2024
A picture of the NCAA national office.

Ohio gaming regulators seek feedback from sports betting operators on an NCAA request to prohibit prop bets on college athletes.

Gov. Mike DeWine agrees with the NCAA in calling for the elimination of those types of wagers, according to reporting from Cleveland.com.

Sports betting operators in the state must submit comments no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 12.

NCAA says bettors are harassing student-athletes

Regulators launched Ohio sports betting just over a year ago. Ohio is one of a handful of states that allow prop bets on college player performance.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission, which regulates sports betting in the state, said it received a letter on Jan. 31 from the NCAA asking regulators to “prohibit wagers on individual college athlete performance under its authority to do so.”

On Feb. 2, a letter from OCCC Executive Director Matthew T. Schuler asked sportsbook operators in the state to offer input on the NCAA’s request.

A player prop bet is a wager on an athlete’s individual performance in a game. Bets can range from whether the player will score a touchdown to the number of points they’ll score in a game or season.

The NCAA has concerns about individual player prop bets. They believe student-athletes could receive threats over these bets. Many states ban those types of wagers, including neighboring Pennsylvania.

NCAA President Charlie Baker told local media that student-athlete safety is the organization’s first priority.

“The data is clear that student-athletes are getting harassed by bettors. Sports betting without appropriate controls poses real risks to the well-being of student-athletes and to the integrity of collegiate competition – risks which are heightened by individual prop bets,” Baker told reporters.

WBNS 10 News quotes DeWine as saying a “number of people have made threats against student-athletes in Ohio and across the country.”

Ohio already has measures in place against harassment

Despite the harassment claims, the Buckeye State is one of the few states to have rules in place to punish those who take part in it.

Last summer, when DeWine signed the new state budget into law, he gave the OCCC the power to ban any bettor who threatens a student-athlete.

This came after University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant appeared at an Ohio Casino Control Commission in January 2023. Grant said his team received abuse on social media from bettors following a loss.

OCCC also seeks data on wagers made on college athletes from operators

According to law, the executive director of the OCCC can make a decision on a request to prohibit a betting type following a public hearing. He may also issue an emergency suspension on types of wagering.

The letter from Schuler asks sportsbooks to comment on the possible ban. He added that if any of the information contains proprietary data, sportsbooks should file it separately with a “confidential” marking. The data could be considered confidential if it has the following:

  • The current percentage of available wager selections on your platform, which, if applying the below criteria, would no longer be permitted.
  • The percentage of total wagers made from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023, which, if applying the below criteria, would not have been permitted.
  • The total dollar value of wagers made from Jan. 1, 2023, to Dec. 31, 2023, which, if applying the below criteria, would not have been permitted.”

Schuler then outlines the “below criteria” in the letter, which is possible wording that could be included if prop betting on college athletes is banned.

“Any wager based on the following is NOT approved and is NOT permitted:

  • Any proposition or ‘prop’ bet on an individual athlete’s performance or statistics participating in a sporting event governed by the NCAA. Only proposition bets based on full team statistical results are permitted.
  • Any full team proposition bet on a sporting event governed by the NCAA that, while not based solely on an individual, would on average depend 50% or more on the statistical performance of one or two athletes on the team to determine the outcome. For example, whether Team A will gain over 200 passing yards in a football game would predominantly rely on the quarterback’s yardage, likely over 50% dependence.”

States split on college player prop wagers

DraftKings offers some type of college betting in 25 states, according to its website. In 16 of those states, they offer player prop betting odds, with two states (Indiana and Iowa) having some restrictions.

Notably, New York, the largest sports betting market in the country, does not allow player prop bets on NCAA competitions. Neither does Massachusetts or North Carolina, which will launch legal sports betting soon.

Some states, like Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut, allow college player props wagers but prohibit them on student-athletes who play for in-state schools.

Photo by AP Photo / Michael Conroy
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayOhio with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland, and the sports betting props — Prop 26 and Prop 27 — in California. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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