At noon Thursday, Iowa will officially become the 11th state to launch its sports wagering program.
Now, it won’t be exactly like Las Vegas. Initially, Iowa will not be taking prop bets. This doesn’t mean they won’t in the future, but a July 30 Des Moines Register article listed what will be available for wagering. It’s mainly the typical sports, including NCAA football and NCAA basketball, featuring money lines, point spreads, over/unders and futures. While, prop bets aren’t on the table initially, there is already a ban on specific prop bets. When they become available, prop bets on in-state players or teams who play against them will be prohibited. This means, you must leave the State of Iowa to place a wager on how many yards Brock Purdy will throw for in a specific game. However, wagers on Iowa and Iowa State will be accepted in the four categories that will be initially available.
It’s no secret that prior to the widespread legalization of sports betting, there was a black market for it. Let’s face it. Although a prop bet on the amount of yards the Cyclones will surrender in a given game will be illegal, we all realize wagers on that specific statistic will still take place in the state. While it won’t be at a casino, it may take place in the very dorms Iowa State has on campus. Two roommates caught up in a debate will likely shake it on behind their dorm room door. Unless Iowa State University has cameras and microphones set up in that specific dorm room (which would be illegal itself due to privacy laws), there’s no way to police it.
So how does the legalization of sports wagering effect the Iowa State program? Well, head coach Matt Campbell certainly understands the duties he already had, but he’s still not quite certain.
“Honestly, I’m probably not educated enough to give you an honest answer,” Campbell said with an emphasis on being honest during the Big 12 Media Days breakout sessions. “I think gambling, in general, is something we deal with as a coaching staff and an athletic department every year. And so, the how and the effect that’s going to have on our kids or our state other than talking about some things administratively really hasn’t changed our approach to how we continue to educate our guys on gambling.”
The NCAA and each school’s compliance office have programs in place to educate student-athletes on their eligibility if they choose to place a wager. The compliance offices hit on this subject extremely hard and continuously bring it up throughout the year, especially when it comes time to the Super Bowl and March Madness.
While the education on eligibility and compliance has been in place for decades, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said participation reports might become necessary down the road. When asked about participation reports, Campbell is on board as long as everyone else is.
“Whatever allows uniformity across the board is the proper avenue to take,” Campbell said. “Whatever that looks like and feels like, I’ll be in support of it. As long as it’s unified and as long as it takes the pressure off of anything that would put our kids at a disadvantage, I’d be all for.”
While Campbell is clearly talking about disadvantages in the game, players feel like they are already at a disadvantage with gambling. One player has even stated they’d like to see 50 percent of a gambler’s winnings to go to him. This, of course, will not be happening any time soon. While some players may wish sports wagering was never legalized, Campbell said he sees how it could be a positive.
“Yeah, was it ever really out in the open? I think it is as close as it possibly could be,” Campbell replied when asked if he preferred the legalization as opposed to the black market. “It would certainly be a positive for everybody.”
Iowa State is listed at 200/1 odds to win the National Championship as of the morning of August 14, 2019 on vegasinsider.com. The website does not list any Cyclones players in the odds for winning the Heisman Trophy. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Iowa State at +850 to win the Big 12 Championship and at 8 wins for the season’s over/under.
The Cyclones open up their season against Northern Iowa 11 a.m. CT Aug. 31 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
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