NBA Commish says legalized betting cuts risk of corruption, but college AD isn't buying it
Posted by MonitoredPicks.com
Posted on Wed, Feb 27, 2019
Will more sports betting lead to more attempts to fix games? It could, warns a Division I athletic director. Marshall University AD Mike Hamrick worries that with an increasing number of states with legalized sports betting, including West Virginia where Marshall is located, the odds of gamblers trying to corrupt unpaid college athletes will increase as well. Jon Wertheim reports on the state of legal sports gambling in America on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Betting on sports is as old as sport itself, but the new climate created by legal sports books worries Hamrick and others. "There's people that will do what they have to do to make a buck at the expense of an 18 or 19-year-old kid," says Hamrick. And with more than half of the 50 states predicted to have some kind of legal sports betting by next year, Hamrick is nervous.
West Virginia was one of the first to institute sports betting after the Supreme Court decided legalized sports betting was up to the individual states. "It's right in front of my face, Jon," he tells Wertheim. "It's legal. And most athletic directors I've spoken with feel the same way… And as more states legalize sports gambling, it'll affect more and more athletic directors."
Hamrick thinks that with legalized gambling offering so many different ways to wager on a game, including more and more bets placed during games, it may be easier to convince an unpaid athlete to influence a game. "It's very tempting. It's very tempting," he says. "They can be compromised. And-- our job is to make sure they're not compromised," says Hamrick, who says educating them to potential schemes is crucial.
You also have to be vigilant, he says, "You see a key player on your team driving a brand new car, you got to find out where that car came from."
Most professional sports leagues have lined up behind legalizing betting, believing it creates more engagement and more fans because bettors are very likely to watch the contests they wager on. Many also argue, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, that legal gambling provides a record of all the bets made, revealing patterns and shining light on a previously shadowy and illegal business. Silver believes it would actually thwart corrupt gamblers who may fear they're more likely to get caught. "I think it decreases risk dramatically," Silver says, "Because we have access to the betting information. I think when you have an underground business operating in the shadows, you have no idea what people are betting on your own events."
Still, Hamrick remains skeptical. "It's gambling. It can be handled to a certain extent. But nobody can sit here and tell you-- that they can deal with this and be 100 percent clean... they can't."