College football was back in action over the weekend, with hundreds of players taking the field across the US. The return of the NCAA games has also brought back illegal gambling. College students at Ole Miss are among a large group of younger bettors placing wagers on their favorite college teams. Students use websites as well as bookies to place a variety of wagers. Students are easily caught up in wagering, unsure as to if the activity they are taking part in is legal or illegal.
Students of Ole Miss are finding ways to place bets on their alma mater as well as other NCAA teams. Third-party bookies are used to place wagers as well as distribute winnings. Players gain access to bookies, individuals who are taking the bets and then paying out any winnings. By having a bookie, students can easily place a bet anytime they like.
Students are wagering online by accessing websites where an anonymous username is provided by another user of the site. According to students, if you know someone who has access to an online betting site, they give you a log in and you are good to go. Once your account is set up, wagering can begin.
The amount that students are wagering can vary. Players have placed from $40 to $80 per game or matchup. The lower amounts are common due to the monetary restrictions of students.
Illegal or legal?
Most college students are unclear on the legality of sports betting in Mississippi. Many students at Ole Miss admit to taking part in sports betting. However, most of them have no idea of the legality of the activity.
Some students feel the law is unclear and they are unsure if an online sportsbook or bookie betting is illegal. Other students know that the online wagering is not approved but they do it anyway. According to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, online sports betting is not legalized in the state.
Allen Godfrey, the Executive Director of the commission stated that all kinds of online gambling is illegal in the state. Regulations state that sports betting on a mobile device requires wagers be placed in a facility that is approved for mobile gaming.
Approved properties would include casinos that have been given the go-ahead to offer online gambling options on site.
Right now, Mississippi is one of 11 states that has legalized sports betting in some form or fashion. However, the wagering option is only viable at the casinos in the state. The wagers on campus are completely illegal and really put students at risk.
There is a risk of gambling addiction as well as consumer protections. By wagering illegally, the bettors are not providing funds in a secure environment. A bookie can easily decide not to pay out or to withhold funds, which puts the bettor at risk.
Students surveyed have said they wager mainly for entertainment purposes. By betting money on the games, they become more interesting instead of boring, especially if the team being rooted for is having a bad season.