Regulator Suggests Ohio Could Ban Bettors Who Harass College Athletes

Written By Danny Cross on January 18, 2023
Anthony Grant Dayton Flyers Head Coach

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is concerned about Ohio bettors harassing collegiate athletes over their performances and could move to ban individuals from Ohio betting markets in the future.

OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler on Jan. 18 responded to an incident that happened a day earlier, when University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant spent time during a postgame press conference defending his players from outsiders who have “their own agenda.”

Schuler referenced the state’s authority to put harassers on an exclusion list from all gambling in the state and said the commission should look into using that power.

Sports betting in Ohio became legal on Jan. 1, and betting on college sports is allowed under the new law.

Dayton head coach Anthony Grant defends student athletes

The Dayton Flyers on Jan. 13 lost a hard-fought game to VCU, 63-62. The team bounced back on Jan. 17, defeating Davidson, 68-61. The Flyers are 13-6 and currently sit in first place in the Atlantic-10 Conference.

After the win, Grant began his postgame press conference by defending his players from attacks from people who have their own agenda. He did not specifically mention sports betting.

“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. “And when we have people that make it about themselves and attack kids because of their own agenda, it sickens me.”

Grant thanked the vast majority of Flyers fans, who he said appreciate the hard work and dedication of the 18- to 22-year-olds on the team. Between long pauses, Grant asked fans to understand the humanity behind the entertainment.

“They have families. They don’t deserve that,” Grant said. “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.”

Considering collegiate sports betting was not on the OCCC agenda

Schuler had not planned to address the issue at the Jan. 18 meeting. He said Grant’s comments had been brought to his attention that morning.

Still, Schuler took a moment to look ahead at how the OCCC might respond to the harassment of collegiate athletes.

“Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant recently used his postgame press conference — I guess it was yesterday, as a matter of fact — to address hate messages being sent to his players received in recent days from gamblers upset about their losses,” Schuler said. “Something similar happened with Ohio State a couple of years ago. It’s not something that is overly prevalent, but when it certainly happens it gets everyone’s attention because these are kids that are out playing a game.”

Schuler noted that the commission has the authority per the General Assembly to put people on an exclusion list from all gambling in the state.

“I think that it’s incumbent upon the commission to look into that very power that if social media is able to help us determine who these individuals are who are speaking out hate to kids, then the commission has a responsibility to ensure that certainly those people cannot engage in legal sports gaming in the state of Ohio.”

Schuler said the commission cannot control people’s behavior but that it does have control over the state’s gambling venues.

“It was something I wasn’t planning on talking about today,” Schuler said, “but I thought that it was important enough to bring up to make sure that anyone who’s listening understands that this type of behavior is not OK for anybody in any venue at all.”

Photo by AP / Joshua A. Bickel
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Danny Cross

Danny Cross is the managing editor of PlayOhio, where he covers the legislative and regulatory process of legalizing sports betting and the latest news on Ohio sportsbooks. Cross joined PlayOhio from Pro Football Focus, where he wrote and edited articles on the NFL, fantasy football and betting.

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