College Player Prop Bets Targeted By North Carolina Lawmakers

College Player Prop Bets Targeted By North Carolina Lawmakers
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

North Carolina lawmakers have filed bills in both the state House and Senate that would bar licensed North Carolina sportsbook apps from offering player proposition wagers on amateur and college athletes.

The Tar Heel State would join the likes of Ohio, Louisiana and Maryland if the General Assembly approves either House Bill 967, sponsored by House Democratic Whip Marcia Morey (D-Durham), or Senate Bill 788, sponsored by Sen. Julie Mayfield (D-Asheville). Those states took action after NCAA President Charlie Baker specifically asked Ohio to ban the wagers in January, saying allowing props like how many points or rebounds a specific player will total in a game put student-athletes at risk for harassment from bettors.

Baker expanded his call to all states during the NCAA basketball tournaments.

Most states with legalized sports betting already block operators from allowing those odds. However, North Carolina sports betting currently offers these types of odds.

Morey, who filed her bill on Monday, is a former Olympic swimmer. In late March, she posted on her X account that such wagers should be banned, referencing a clip from an article about comments about betting from North Carolina basketball star Armando Bacot.

“Athlete harassment is not worth gamblers’ ire,” she posted.

Both HB 967 and SB 788 would also restrict some brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The measures say that any retail book in or adjacent to an arena hosting a college sporting event must be closed for the eight hours leading up to the contest and during the event as well.

BetCarolina Analysis

While the legislation has good intentions, the push to ban prop bets will not accomplish what advocates want: stopping the harassment of student-athletes.

Iowa women’s basketball player Gabbie Marshall told reporters she was harassed to the point she deleted social media apps after getting “hate comments” in response to a foul she drew on UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards in the waning second of their Final Four game. That foul helped Iowa hold on for a close victory.

On the men’s side, Purdue senior Carson Barrett, who played just 24 minutes all season, hit a 3-pointer late in the Boilermakers’ victory over Grambling State. Barrett’s shot made the final score 78-50, allowing Purdue to cover the 26.5-point spread. After the game, The Athletic reported he received direct messages on social media urging him to kill himself.

In neither instance were the players part of a prop bet market.

The market for college player prop bets is miniscule. In Ohio, they made up slightly more than 1% of the wagers placed in 2023. It might be a larger market in North Carolina, given how big college athletics is in the state, but it still won’t be a significant market for operators.

It’s admirable that the NCAA, lawmakers, and regulators want to protect student-athletes. However, banning prop bets will not keep players from receiving threats and hateful messages. Those looking out for student-athlete’s best interests should focus on working with investigators to prosecute anyone threatening an athlete and with social media apps to prevent such harassment in the first place.

Odds For Passage Appear Unlikely

Democrats do not hold the majority in either chamber. While that does not always doom a bill’s chances, supporters will need to get some Republican support if either bill has a chance.

So far, Mayfield has no co-sponsors for SB 788. Morey has 13 co-sponsors for her bill as of Friday, but they’re all Democrats.

State Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincolnton), who sponsored the bill legalizing statewide online sports betting last year, told BetCarolina.com Friday that he opposes a ban on prop bets.

“It’s a thinly veiled attempt to start the process of chiseling away at sports betting in general and, as such, has little chance of being seen once filed,” he said.

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Author

Steve Bittenbender
Sports Betting Expert & Insider

As a writer and analyst for BetCarolina.com, Steve not only covers gaming news and developments in North Carolina but also provides insights into what they mean for bettors, licensed operators and the state. A veteran journalist with 25 years of experience covering sports, politics and business, Steve has reported on the gambling industry intently over the past five years.

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