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Penn State Requests Restrictions On Pennsylvania Sports Betting

Penn State President Eric Barron requested in a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that sports betting on games involving in-state colleges be prohibited during a two-year period when the state’s new sports gambling regulations are in place.

In May, the Supreme Court repealed the longstanding federal law, Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), that banned sports betting. The gaming control board brought these temporary regulations to the Commonwealth as a result.

Barron cited the wording of the new regulations — which don’t include the same safeguards in place for fantasy sports gambling — and the amateur aspect of college sports, which could make student-athletes more susceptible to game-fixing than professional counterparts, as reasons to hold this prohibition on in-state college sports betting.

“Sources looking to influence or gain an unfair advantage in wagering on collegiate sporting events occurring in Pennsylvania will be overwhelmingly ‘local’ to Pennsylvania,” Barron wrote.

“Limiting the ability of such local parties to place wagers on Pennsylvania college and university athletic events, at least during this two year temporary period, will substantially reduce the likelihood of issues arising before our institutions can put into place policies and procedures and educational programs to appropriately manage the risks associated with sports wagering on their athletic contests.”

The proposed setup is based on the model that New Jersey recently adopted to combat issues with collegiate sports betting.

Penn State is one of a number of teams, leagues, and institutions to write a letter to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board giving feedback on the new regulations.

However, contrary to Penn State and many of these teams/leagues, the letter from Pitt’s athletic director, Heather Lyke, doesn’t ask for certain restrictions on sports betting. Instead, the university wants “impact fees” from the gaming control board for various financial costs sports betting will add to Pitt’s budget.

“Pitt will have to greatly enhance educational and compliance efforts regarding sports wagering. It is likely Pitt will have to hire and train additional staff for that purpose. Pitt will have to carefully coordinate its efforts with the NCAA and its athletic conference,” Lyke wrote.

Barron also mentioned the potential additional costs similar to those listed by Lyke that Penn State would like to pay for with an “integrity fee” from the gaming control board. 

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesperson Douglas Harbach said that there is no timetable for when sports betting will be launched in the state and mentioned that restrictions like the ones put forth by President Barron could be introduced in future regulations introduced prior to sports betting’s official start in the state.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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