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As legalized sports betting continues to grow in the US, so have the number of scandals in pro sports. We saw the first major suspension for gambling last year with NFL receiver Calvin Ridley, but we have seen an increase since. This includes both pro and college leagues across many different sports.
Concern about the potential for these issues arose after the Supreme Court opened the door for legalized sports betting. Though the last few years haven’t seen many scandals, the last year alone has shown that this problem is rising. As a result, Congress sent a letter to the leaders of 12 pro leagues and the NCCA this week. The letter asked each league to present its plan for dealing with sports betting scandals to ensure US sports do not suffer as a result.
While many of the scandals have come from the major US leagues, the Congressional Gaming Caucus wanted to ensure all leagues had a solid plan to deal with them. “We wanted to get ahead of this,” Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev) told ESPN, “That’s why we expanded it to include so many of the different sports.”
The biggest ask from the letter was for the leagues to provide information on their plan to prevent the number of scandals from rising. The fact that the leagues are discovering these scandals shows their system is working, but the Congressional Gaming Caucus wants to know what the leagues are doing to stop the scandals from happening in the first place.
While the punishments being handed down are severe enough to send a message to league personnel, Congress wants to see more focus on education around sports betting and the rules involved. The hope is that if these leagues can show these players the dangers of illegal sports betting, the number of scandals will drop.
We have already seen some big scandals in the pro leagues, especially the NFL. However, a considerable increase in NCAA scandals has set off the most prominent alarms. One of the most notable scandals came in college baseball when Alabama's head coach Brad Bohannon was fired after being linked to betting on games. The issue was so widespread that the NCAA suspended the entire program while they investigated.
Over 40 student-athletes between Iowa and Iowa State are being investigated for violating the sports betting rule. That is a significant number, and it only includes the scandals we know about.
While the schools and leagues are better at identifying potential violations, ongoing issues could bring down more government oversight and even more severe punishments. All parties have the motivation to see this problem fixed, but time will tell if they can agree on how to do so.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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