The NCAA released survey results that show many young adults are betting on sports, often despite age or geographic restrictions on legal sports betting.
The results indicate betting is dominant among young adults, especially those attending NCAA-member institutions. Gambling is reportedly also present within minority communities.
NCAA president Charlie Baker commissioned the survey weeks after taking over to establish a new baseline of sports betting activity. Baker wanted to determine the level of sports betting activity among young adults. Baker said via release:
“We needed a new baseline so we can better understand what student-athletes are experiencing on their campuses and among their peers so we can best help them deal with the potentially disruptive dynamic of legal sports betting. Sports betting has increased interest in sports of all kinds, including college sports, which is great for our fans, but the NCAA and everyone from coaches to athletics department staff and college presidents must better understand what impact sports betting may have on student-athletes.”
The survey, conducted by Opinion Diagnostics, queried 3,527 individuals 18- to 22-year-olds. The purpose of the study was to better understand the prevalence of various sports betting behaviors. It also served to see how external forces, such as advertising, impact attitudes toward gambling.
Key findings from the NCAA survey
In all of these findings, it is important to note that participation in the survey was voluntary. Additionally, to what degree responses represent actual behavior by the respondents is uncertain. Put another way, it’s difficult to ascertain how truthful respondents’ answers to the survey questions were.
Overall, the present survey found that sports wagering is pervasive among 18- to 22-year-olds, with:
- 58% having engaged in at least one sports betting activity
- 67% of students living on campus are bettors and tend to bet at a higher frequency
- 41% of college students who bet on sports have placed a bet on their school’s teams
- 35% have used a student bookmaker
Advertisements have a significant influence on betting activity:
- 63% of on-campus students recall seeing betting ads. It is a higher rate than that found in the general population or those that commute or virtually attend college
- 58% of those students indicate they are more likely to bet after seeing the ads
Problem gambling shows up in this population with:
- 16% having engaged in at least one risky behavior
- 6% reporting that they have previously lost more than $500 on sports betting in a single day
- 70% of these risky gamblers believe consistent sports gambling will increase their monetary earnings
This population places bets in various ways, but the accessibility of mobile sports betting has made that the preferred choice, with 28% choosing the mobile app method for their wagering.
Live in-game betting is the most popular type of bet for those that use betting apps or visit in-person sportsbooks, surpassing more traditional forms of sports betting like money line or over/under.
State legality and age restrictions do not pose much difficulty; both legal and illegal markets have nearly the same rate of engagement. Betting is omnipresent across the country:
- The Northeast has the largest portions of bettors, with 61%
- The West has the lowest, with 54%.
The NCAA says it is working diligently to educate athletes
The NCAA claims that it is continuing to work with:
- Industry leaders
- Mental health experts
- Law enforcement and regulators
The organization says it constantly monitors, researches and analyzes this landscape to develop effective ways to protect collegiate athletes’ well-being and minimize gambling harm.
Clint Hangebrauck, managing director of enterprise risk management, said:
“We have built strong relationships with industry experts in this space, and we are in constant communication about various issues, everything ranging from integrity monitoring to mental health resources. The world of sports wagering is vast and complex. The NCAA is diligently gathering data, reviewing processes and procedures and creating initiatives to educate student-athletes and protect the integrity of college athletics.”