NCPG focuses on links between sports betting and higher education

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The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has published a new report this week from its Prevention Committee called Recommendations on Partnerships Between Higher Education Academic Institutions and Sports Betting Operators.

The document sets out to address how sports betting operators, institutions of higher learning, and state governments can help mitigate against the potential rise of problem gambling among young adults that might occur as sports betting becomes legal in more states.

According to Executive Director Keith Whyte, the Prevention Committee report comprises recommendations that can help limit the number of young adults who could develop signs of gambling addiction as a result of expanded US sports betting. 

He stated: “We hope gambling operators, institutions of higher learning and state officials each feel a sense of urgency in adopting these responsible gambling policies and problem gambling treatment measures, whether sports betting is legal or might be in the near future.”

The report gives an overview of why the recommendations are needed, focusing on how young adults are especially vulnerable. It found that college and university students tend to have higher rates of problem gambling as compared to the general population. Moreover, it suggests that college student athletes have an even greater risk for gambling problems than the general college population.

Suggested measures for sports betting operators include the setting of strict age-gate verification policies and operations that go beyond ‘lip service’ and self-verification and provision of betting activity data to colleges and universities to inform problem gambling efforts.

The report also warns that operators should refrain from offering incentives, especially monetary in nature, to institutions of higher learning based in any way on participation in sports betting by individuals.

Universities and colleges are also given guidelines, such as not accepting any incentives based on participation by individuals in sports betting. Additionally, they are encouraged to set standards and policies for what type of sports betting advertising and promotion can occur, and where it can occur and offer problem gambling treatment services on campus for anyone who might need it.

State governments, meanwhile, are advised to conduct surveys focused on high school and college students regarding this issue so that potential adjustments can be made going forward. They are also urged to provide funds at a minimum of 1% of all sports betting revenue to address gambling addiction and establish stringent responsible gambling regulations for sports betting operators and vendors.

Said the NCPG: “The best way to protect students and student athletes from gambling addiction is for all parties to work together to provide education, awareness and help on this hidden addiction. 

“This includes effective tools and sensible limits that support informed choice and require consumer protections in the unique environment of higher education. Institutions of higher learning have a great responsibility toward their students, in this as in other aspects, to ensure that their educational environment does not present a danger but helps them to be successful as students and adults.”