The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced late Friday afternoon it will consider pulling player proposition markets involving college student-athletes from its catalog of acceptable wagers.
That decision came after NCAA President Charlie Baker made the request to OCCC Executive Director Matt Schuler earlier in the week. In a three-page letter, Baker noted the association and its member schools have seen “a significant increase” in cases where bettors have confronted student-athletes, either in-person or online. A survey conducted last summer found at least 25% of schools from Power Five conferences and 10% of Division I universities reported their athletes had such encounters.
Nearly half of the more than 350 D-I schools participated in the survey. Ohio sports betting launched Jan. 1, 2023.
“Player prop bets attach an individual student-athlete’s name to a bet and therefore increase the likelihood of betting harassment being targeted toward them,” Baker wrote.
Baker noted player prop bets also might give rise to student-athletes being asked to provide inside information so bettors can take advantage of wagering opportunities. In addition, those types of bets could lure student-athletes into “betting on themselves to outperform” the total oddsmakers set for themselves.
The NCAA’s request not only included player-specific proposition wagers but also any prop bet where half or more of the statistical benchmark would rely on the production of one or two players. An example given by the OCCC in its memo to operators gave a college football team’s passing yards as an example of such a market since the starting quarterback would likely be the one to accumulate that stat.
It would not prohibit traditional Ohio betting apps markets, including point spreads, moneylines and point totals for college contests. The rules also would not prevent illegal bookmakers and offshore operators from continuing to offer college player props.
OCCC Seeks Data from Sportsbooks
Because of the NCAA’s request, Schuler asked the Ohio sports betting operators licensed by the commission to respond with their comments by next Monday. He said the comments will help him determine if the NCAA has demonstrated good cause in its request.
“Good cause will be measured by whether the NCAA’s request, if adopted, will ensure the integrity of sports gaming or will be in the best interests of the public,” Schuler wrote.
He also asked the operators to provide the OCCC with the percentage of wagering markets it offers overall that would be impacted by the proposed ban, the percentage of their 2023 accepted wagers that would be prohibited under the requested rules change and the handle those wagers generated.
Schuler said that data would remain confidential and not be released to the public.
The commission has licensed 20 online sports betting operators, including Fanatics Sportsbook Ohio, Betway and bet365. In addition, there are 16 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks across the state.
The OCCC’s wagering catalog lists 18 men’s and women’s Division I sports Ohio operators can offer on their apps, websites and sportsbooks. When it comes to player-specific prop bets, most of those center around college football and men’s college basketball.
An exception is women’s college basketball star Caitlin Clark. The Iowa senior is approaching the NCAA record for most career points, and FanDuel Ohio is offering markets on the game she’ll break the record and the type of shot she’ll make to break the record. The Flutter Entertainment brand also offers a parlay involving the type of shot and which quarter of the game she makes it.
Those wagers are available in Ohio, but they’re not in Iowa, where sports betting rules prohibit sportsbooks from offering prop bets on any collegiate game or event featuring an in-state school.