SBC Rewind: College betting scandal erupts, legislative wins in NC/VT

University of Cincinnati
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2023 has been a whirlwind year for US sports betting and online casino, with huge industry-defining narratives keeping us busy all year long. 

So, as the year comes to a close, SBC Americas recaps the biggest stories shaping the sector over the last 12 months.

In this edition, May and June, a growing scandal emerges within the college sports industry, while there are legislative wins with gambling expansion secured in North Carolina, Vermont and Rhode Island

College betting scandal in Iowa, Ohio

There were several sports betting scandals in college sports, first in Alabama when the baseball coach was fired for sharing insider information with a parent of a player, who then subsequently placed bets using that information. 

The same parent – Bert Neff – was involved in the incident in Cincinnati which resulted in the dismissal of two members of the coaching staff. 

The dismissals of Cincinnati assistant coach Kyle Sprague and operations director Andy Nagle were related to their knowledge of Neff’s betting activity. Neither person reported the activity to the school.

Meanwhile, up to 50 student athletes were investigated in Iowa for breaching sports betting guidelines earlier this year. 

Several of those players were then incriminated for underage gambling, and even fraud for using somebody else’s betting account in order to wager. 

As this scandal emerged, Michigan State University terminated its partnership with Caesars a full four years ahead of schedule. This was as several other college partnerships were ending in the wake of the New York Times series of articles at the back end of 2022.

North Carolina and Vermont legalize sports betting

In June, the Governors of both Vermont and North Carolina put pen to paper on respective bills to legalize sports betting in each state.

The North Carolina bill stipulates that a five-year license will cost operators $5m, whilst GGR tax is set at 18%. Promotional credit deductions are not allowed under HB347. 

“This is an historic moment for the state of North Carolina and this will benefit our economy for generations to come,” Gov. Cooper said.

Over in Vermont, Gov. Scott put pen to paper on the sports betting bill after the bill was voted through by the legislature. 

Two-to-six operators will be licensed in the Green Mountain State and will be regulated by the Vermont Lottery. Those operators interested in obtaining a license must offer at least 20% of GGR to the state in order to be considered.

Rhode Island legalizes online casino

It was largely a quiet year on the online casino legislative front, with most states killing bills before a serious stage. 

However, Rhode Island was the only state to pass through online casino legislation, albeit the market will not be a competitive one. 

The bill gives Bally’s the exclusive rights to operate in the state, via its Twin River and Twin River-Tiverton properties. Meanwhile, as its official vendor, IGT would also have access to Rhode Island’s gaming market.

The legislation requires that a live dealer must be in place and streamed via a simulcast, meaning that bets are technically placed in a casino location. 

“This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices,” said Senate President Dominick Ruggerio

“It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”