Massachusetts, NCAA launch Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition

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BOSTON – With March Madness comes lots of excitement, but also lots of concerns when it comes to young fans making wagers.

On Thursday, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell announced the creation of The Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition with one goal in mind: To make sure kids as young as 12 and young people as old as 20 are protected and equipped with information about the health risks of gambling.

“As all of you know, we’ve entered what we are all describing as a new era of sports gambling in Massachusetts,” Attorney General Campbell said.

We’re living in the age where sports betting is literally available – right at your fingertips. And that’s what concerns Campbell the most.

“Betting on a game or even performances within a game is just a swipe away, on millions of phones throughout the Commonwealth,” said Campbell.

According to national data from the NCAA, 58% of 18-22-year-olds have engaged in at least one sports betting activity.

For those who have participated in sports betting, some describe it as a fun, adrenaline rush, others say it helps to make watching the game more enjoyable.

Sports betting became legal in Massachusetts in 2022, in a bill signed by Governor Baker.

Now Campbell said it’s their job to make it as safe and responsible as they can, which led to the launch of The Youth Sports Betting Safety Coalition.

Former governor and now NCAA President Charlie Baker said they’re also pushing states to bar “prop bets.” Those type of bets allow gamblers to put wagers on a player’s stats which in turn, puts a lot of pressure on student athletes.

Charlie Baker
NCAA President Charlie Baker

CBS Boston

“One of the things that came up a lot from the student athletes was, you know, it’s very complicated when someone says to me – ‘I bet on you guys last weekend and you lost and I now have a problem and you can help me solve my problem if you just don’t take the first shot in the next game,'” Baker said.

The coalition will be a collaborative effort between the Mass Gaming Commission, the NCAA, the Mass Council on Gaming and Health, Civic Action Project and our local sports teams.

They will work together to develop an education, training, and health curriculum for people ages 12-20.

“The current situation with young people and gambling in the Commonwealth necessitates urgent action. So just as our beloved sports team work tirelessly to prevent injuries in the game, we must also work together to prevent the harmful effects of youth gambling,” said Marlene Warner, the CEO of Mass Council on Gaming and Health.

Attorney General Campbell said there is still more work to do. Their next step? Reaching out to operators and other stakeholders to brainstorm other ways to make sure young people are not getting on these apps. 

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