NCAA to Keep Tabs on Basketball Tournament Betting
For the first time, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, one of America's favorite sporting events to bet on, will take place in a state with legal bookmakers operating right down the street from where the games are being played. According to figures released Sunday by the American Gaming Association, more than 47 million Americans are expected to make a bet on this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, which tips off Thursday exclusively in Indiana.
The NCAA and gaming regulators in Indiana say they're ready and will be monitoring the betting action closely. The NCAA and the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) work with third-party companies that track the betting markets for any irregularities that may signal an attempt to compromise a game. If suspicious betting patterns are detected, the IGC can order all bets canceled on a game.
The NCAA remains opposed to all forms of sports betting, legal or illegal, but did change its policy on allowing championship events in states with regulated betting markets like Indiana. Approximately $127.2 million was bet on basketball, both college and professional, with Indiana sportsbooks in February.
The most-feared scenario, of course, is a point-shaving scandal involving an NCAA tournament game. College basketball has been scarred by multiple past point-shaving schemes, with Boston College, Arizona State, Northwestern, Tulane, Toledo, San Diego, and Auburn among the Division I programs having suffered gambling-related scandals in the past 50 years.