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Bettors from North Carolina Send Threats to College Athletes

Sports betting became legal in North Carolina on March 11, 2023, and customers seem to be pretty excited about it – maybe even overly excited. On the first day when betting was available, almost $29 million was wagered, while players spent nearly $200 million during the first week

Problems for college athletes:

NC State, UNC, and Duke participated in March Madness, so customers were able to not only enjoy watching their favorite teams but also bet on the highly anticipated matchups.  

However, college athletes are going through various issues, since the advent of sports betting has seen fans become more involved in the games than ever before. Since betting was launched, players have begun to receive troubling messages related to their game performance.

Armando Bacot, UNC basketball player, said: “I thought I played a pretty good last game, but I looked at my DMs, and I got over 100 messages telling me I suck and stuff like that because I did not get enough rebounds.”

He is one of the best players in the field, with record-winning 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. However, it seems neither of these means anything, since the players get mad if the team loses the last game only, and Bacot becomes a target.

According to the regulations, bettors can place their bets on various stats in the game, including how many points or rebounds the player achieves during the game.

Bacot added that he understands the players. He said: “I think it’s a little out of hand, but at the same time … I get the point of it, too. You bet a lot of money on something, and you’re one pick away, and somebody messes it up.”

Among the sportsbooks the players use to place their bets are the most popular ones in the whole country, such as FanDuel, Draft Kings, or Fanatics. The users of these apps know the risks of placing their bets on games and specific stats.

Advocates and opponents of prop betting:

According to Fox 8, Bryce Lennon, one of the bettors, said: “It definitely gets your stress level going. I don’t agree with the threats or all that stuff happening because it does happen, but I also don’t agree with banning the player props things or doing anything like that.”

His favorite are college sports, however, even though he doesn’t support threats or messaging the players, he claims he understands the bettors who take their stress out on the players who messed up the game. 

On the other hand, Charles Baker, President of the NCAA, wants to ban prop bets and make them illegal in North Carolina. He issued a statement, saying: “Sports betting issues are on the rise across the country with prop bets continuing to threaten the integrity of competitions and leading to student-athletes and professional athletes getting harassed.”

Baker compared North Carolina laws with the ones in other states, pointing out that some of them, such as Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona, already banned college prop betting.

However, bettors are mostly against it. Leslie Mitchell, another customer commented: “There are some people that get pretty intense, I am not that intense about it.” 

According to Mitchell, prop bets are nothing more than a fun way to join in.

She said: “My favorite for college basketball is hoping a certain player makes so many threes because it’s so unlikely that it’s going to happen, so you win a pretty significant amount.” 

Bettors in North Carolina are very excited about the opportunity to place their bets, especially when considering that the legalization came up just in time for March Madness and baseball season

But the threats don’t happen only in North Carolina, and not only to players. During the previous season, J.B. Bickerstaff, coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, reported that he had also received threats from gamblers. Bickerstaff, who has been the head coach of the Ohio team since 2020, reported the threats to the League.

According to the Associated Press, he said: “They got my telephone number and were sending me crazy messages about where I live and my kids and all that stuff. So it is a dangerous game and a fine line that we’re walking for sure.”

The coach said that the gambler had been found, but that charges weren’t pressed at the time.

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