North Carolina Bill Aims to Prohibit College Player Props

profile image of Dave Grendzynski
A North Carolina Tar Heels logo is shown on a marching band member's jacket as the North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Clemson, South Carolina. Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images/AFP

The bid to ban prop bets in the Tar Heel State just took a significant step forward. 

A North Carolina state lawmaker introduced a bill to ban prop bets on college sports in the state, following the call of the NCAA president and similar bans in other states. 

Durham Democratic Rep. Marcia Morey, a former U.S. Olympic swimmer and NCAA enforcement staffer, strongly opposed the legalization of mobile sports betting statewide. Her proposed bill (House Bill 967) would prohibit bets on individual statistics, such as points, assists, rebounds, or total yards, specifically targeting college and amateur sports, largely defined in the law as Olympic-style events.

College Prop Bets Not Big Money

Since its launch in March, mobile sports betting in North Carolina has seen nearly $660 million wagered in the first weeks, but college prop bets aren’t considered to be a big money maker. 

PENN Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden, whose company operates ESPN BET (one of eight betting apps in North Carolina), said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call that if college prop bets are banned, he believes bettors will likely shift their wagers to other game elements such as the spread, moneyline, or total. 

Snowden does not anticipate a substantial impact on his company’s bottom line due to college prop bans, which is why other states have willingly followed the NCAA’s request for college prop bans because college player props constitute only a small portion of the U.S. sports betting market. “These bans do not significantly affect a state’s tax revenue creation and are of minor concern to sports betting operators,” he stated.  

But an analysis by JMP Securities found that college prop bets account for nearly 2% of sports betting revenue and a ban could cost US sportsbooks up to $200 million annually.

NCAA President Already Calling For Ban

NCAA President Charlie Baker is already urging states with legal sports wagering to prohibit prop bets on college athletes. His statement comes in response to the increasing prevalence of sports betting and the potential impact of prop bets on the integrity of competition. There’s also concern about bettors threatening players before and after games, and on social media

The NCAA has been collaborating with states to address these concerns. But even before Baker’s statement, there was a growing push against prop bets on college athletes. 

Gaming regulators in Ohio, Vermont, and Maryland have already removed prop betting on college athletes from online platforms and sportsbooks. The legal sports betting states that do not restrict college player props include Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

How Likely Is It That The College Prop Bet Ban Will Pass?

It remains unclear if the battle to ban college prop bets will be successful in North Carolina. State Rep. Jason Saine, has his doubts. He suggests that authorities should focus on cracking down on those making threats rather than implementing the ban. 

Time is also not on the side of lawmakers pushing for the ban. This year’s legislative session in North Carolina is short. It began on April 24, with an end date set for July 31, so there’s not a lot of time to get something done.