Michigan regulators put heads together on college sports integrity

Michigan regulators put heads together on college sports betting
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A variety of experts in gaming and regulation came together at a Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) panel this week to discuss the topical issue of integrity within college sports betting.

Experts from the likes of the NCAA, BetMGM, Integrity Compliance 360 (IC360) and the FBI convened for the event at Cadillac Place in Detroit to talk about regulations and compliance measures related to the oversight of college sports and related wagering.

Michigan has nearly 100 colleges and universities with thousands of students competing in NCAA sports. The Wolverine State’s online gaming industry consists of 13 online sportsbooks.

Given that landscape and the potential for college sports and betting to interact at every turn, the MGCB wants to ensure integrity remains top of mind for all.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board is dedicated to fostering a transparent and compliant gaming environment, particularly in the realm of college sports betting,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “By hosting this panel discussion and engaging with NCAA Division I collegiate officials involved with overseeing compliance, talking about ways in which we might be able to work together to prevent student-athletes from illegal gambling, we aim to uphold the highest standards of integrity and responsibility.”

Protecting student-athletes key focus

The MGCB said in a release that the panelists shared insights into the nuances of the state’s online betting industry, including rules, regulations and compliance measures and how those can be compromised without proper safeguards.

A key topic was protecting student-athletes.

“Athletes are risk takers and are conditioned to know if they practice, they can get better, but the problem is that’s not how gambling works,” said IC360 Co-Managing Director of Education and Training Services Dan Trolaro. “Current K-12 educational curriculums include discussions about drugs, alcohol, and stranger danger but not about gambling, risk-taking, and decision-making. We need to create curriculum about gambling so that we can empower our student-athletes and equip them with the tools they need to succeed in life after college.”

That has been a hot topic in recent months. Prominent figures including NCAA President Charlie Baker have called for restrictions on college betting. Baker issued a statement in May urging lawmakers to ban college prop betting, which he singled out as a form of wagering that can be particularly vulnerable to manipulation and abuse of athlete.

Michigan is one of a handful of states that has no restrictions on college prop betting.

IC360 partners with ACC

NCAA Managing Director of Enforcement Mark Hicks was another of the experts at the MGCB session. He revealed the SBC Summit North America Player Protection Symposium last month that the collegiate sport association’s data partner Signify counted around 2,000 incidents of athlete harassment related to sports betting during March Madness alone.

“It just seems like there is even more risk today than there was in the past,” Hicks said at the time. “There are so many different types of markets that are out there and more games… I think with all these different types of player proposition bets, there is more opportunity for integrity concerns or integrity breaches.”

This week, in an ongoing effort to protect the integrity of college sports in the U.S., the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) partnered with IC360 to provide each ACC member institution with access to the company’s integrity monitoring technology and data insights. Schools will also be able to opt in to receive the integrity firm’s educational services and access its ProhiBet platform, a solution designed to prevent student-athletes, coaches and staff from participating in prohibited betting activities.