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Colleges and universities are betting big on sports gambling

Jordan Poole and teammates of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate Poole's 3-point buzzer beater for a 64-63 win.
Jordan Poole and teammates of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate Poole's 3-point buzzer beater for a 64-63 win.

The NCAA College Basketball tournament kicks off Tuesday. Millions of Americans are expected to watch the games and bet on them.

According to a new survey from the American Gaming Association,68 million Americansare expected to place over $15 billion in bets on the tournament this year. 

As sports gambling becomes increasingly popular on mobile platforms, colleges and universities are getting in on the action through multi-million dollar partnerships that allow companies to advertise on campuses.

Investigations from The New York Times and the PBS Newshour found at least five major colleges (Michigan State, LSU, Maryland, University of Denver, and the University of Colorado) have partnered with companies like Caesar’s Sports Book and PointsBet.

These partnerships concern Saul Malek. He’s a graduate student at Southern Methodist University near Dallas, Texas.

He found himself tens of thousands of dollars in debt after two years of betting on sports that started his sophomore year of college:

I really needed the action, like a heroin user would need that next fix. I wasn’t acting like a rational person who would see that they have a problem. I was so anxious I needed to have the next bet, that’s how I’m going to fix this.

We speak with journalists at The New York Times and the PBS Newshour about their investigations as well as a representative from the American Gaming Association about what responsible gambling practices look like.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

June Leffler, Chris Remington