A little over a year into making sports betting legal in the state of Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine is calling for some modifications. DeWine and the NCAA want the Ohio Casino Control Commission to make “prop bets” for college athletics illegal within Ohio. 

Prop bets are typically made during games and on individual players. 

“Whether a player will score a certain number of points or go for a certain number of yards or will a basketball player hit a certain number of free throws or three point shots,” Jessica Franks of the Ohio Casino Control Commission said about what prop bets can be placed. 

DeWine and the NCAA feel these bets are harmful because some collegiate players have been threatened or harassed for their performances, especially over social media.

“One year into sports gambling in Ohio, we have seen a marketplace develop where a number of bad actors have engaged in unacceptable behavior by making threats against student-athletes in Ohio and across the country,” Governor DeWine said. “By amending rules to focus bets on the team and away from individual athletes, I believe we can improve the marketplace in Ohio and better protect student-athletes from unnecessary and potentially harmful threats.”

In a letter from the NCAA President Charlie Baker to the Ohio Casino Control Commission he said they are “deeply concerned about the dangers (a prop bet) poses to the health, safety and well-being” of players. 

In 2023, the NCAA had “six Division I student athletes who reported harassment related to betting” and a recent survey found “over 30 Division I institutions reported someone with a gambling interest harassing their student-athletes” the letter states. 

“I absolutely support Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and NCAA President Charlie Baker and their efforts to change Ohio’s sports wagering rules,” Gene Smith, Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation-Eugene Smith Endowed Athletics Director, said. “Collegiate athletes should not be faced with harmful threats, and changing the wagering rules in Ohio can help put an end to this.”

Under current Ohio law, if someone threatens violence or harm against a person involved in a sporting event for a bet they placed, they can be banned from betting for life by being put on the Sports Gaming Involuntary Exclusion List. 

“It’s for folks whose presence in the gaming sphere in Ohio does pose a threat to the integrity of either casino gaming or sports gaming,” Franks said. “The commission, we’re not here to be a social media police on these kinds of things but it is just another tool that the commission has.”

Currently, the commission does not have anyone on that list.

If DeWine and the NCAA’s ban is granted, the commission would regulate what sports book operators - like Fanduel and Draftkings - can let their betters choose from.

“Basically, patrons in Ohio just would not see those kinds of wagers available to them when they’re placing a wager,” Franks said. 

Sports book operators can make a comment on the request until Feb. 12. After that, the Ohio Casino Control Commission will review the comments and make a final decision on whether to grant the ban. 

If prop bets are made illegal, betters would still be able to gamble on teams as a whole, like the winners of a game or final scores. If the commission does not grant the ban, the NCAA can file an appeal.