Montana Lottery keeping college player props

April 8, 2024 6:58 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Mia Doyle, Special to CDC Gaming Reports
April 8, 2024 6:58 PM
  • Mia Doyle, Special to CDC Gaming Reports

While the NCAA has been making ongoing efforts to promote responsible gambling among students and college athletes, including requesting that states carry out vigilant regulation and changes to legislation in order to further protect college students, athletes and staff, Montana Lottery Director Bob Brown said that while he appreciates concerns for student athletes’ safety, he doesn’t see how the issue applies to his state.

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“Speaking specifically to our state, with Montana’s low population and only two large universities, we can speak confidently that any issues occurring nationally have not been an issue in Montana,” he said. “Regarding the specifics of player prop betting, it is not in our immediate plans to discontinue college player prop markets offered through our sportsbooks. Montana’s local teams already have a limited number of markets, which we are not inclined to limit further.”

The Montana Lottery oversees the 1.1 million population state’s betting monopoly, operating the Sports Bet Montana brand, which is available online through a mobile app and in-person in retail sportsbooks and betting kiosks across the state.

During the March Madness tournaments, NCAA President Charlie Baker said in a statement, “sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of the competition and leading to student-athletes and professional athletes getting harassed.”

Brown agreed with Baker on the state officials’ duty to protect college athletes and staff from being harassed and threatened.

“We are in full support of your efforts to reduce the reports of student-athletes being harassed by bettors and the additional efforts surrounding player-athlete interaction in sports wagering,” Brown said. “We also agree that regulations and statutes would benefit from language being added to address the identification and prosecution of bettors who negatively interact with student-athletes. Establishing those expectations in our regulations will be considered as part of our efforts to strengthen the sports wagering offering in Montana.”

Legislators in New Mexico and West Virginia are advancing bills that will allow authorities to take action against harassment of college athletes, officials and coaches., while states including Ohio, Maryland and Louisiana are pulling the plug on college props.