Underage teenagers illegally place sports bets online, investigation finds

Teenagers are placing sports bets online even though some of them reside in states where sports betting is banned for under 21s or even illegal.

This is according to an NCAA study. The national survey of 18-22 year olds revealed that 58% of respondents have placed at least one bet this year. The stat is troubling, the NCAA said, because in many states — including Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana and Massachusetts — players must be at least 21 to place a bet. Nearly 70% of college students living on campus are gamblers. Among college-educated sports bettors, just over 40% placed bets on their own school’s team, the NCAA said.

The NCAA conducted its survey to “better understand what student-athletes experience on their campuses and among their peers” in order to “best help them navigate the potentially disruptive dynamics of legal sports betting,” the NCAA said Wednesday. President Charlie Baker in a statement. .

More states have legalized online sports betting in recent years, making the pastime once done in person through bookmakers — often illegally with a nod and a wink — more widely accessible. Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio legalized sports betting last year, bringing the national total to 33 states plus Washington, D.C. States where sports betting is legal brought in millions of dollars in tax revenue additional.

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BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBet have emerged as the biggest winners from the raging craze. From ads featuring comedian Patton Oswalt raving about same-day parlays to actor Jamie Foxx feuding with NBA legend Kevin Garnett, online sportsbooks have aired some of the most talked about ads in history. recent. The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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Baker and the NCAA said there has been a “national sports betting advertising blitz” and that “ads have an outsized effect in increasing the likelihood of betting” on older teens. The NCAA stopped short of saying the ads were driving illegal teen gambling. Yet 56% of survey respondents said they remembered recently seeing an advertisement encouraging them to bet.

A majority of underage gamblers typically bet between $1 and $50 and lose between $10 and $300 per day, according to the NCAA survey. The losses are especially steep among black bettors, some of whom have reported losing more than $500 in a single day, the NCAA said. The investigation also revealed that some students have enlisted a classmate who is a bookmaker to place bets on their behalf.

The NCAA said it is planning another survey this fall focused on the playing habits of student-athletes.

Online betting for minors seems to be popping up just as sports gambling has reached new heights. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans bet $31.1 billion on sports – online and in person – in the first quarter of this year. The business generated a record $2.8 billion in sports betting revenue, the trade association said.

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Christopher J. Brooks

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