SEC’s Greg Sankey Explains Conference’s Approach to Increased Sports Gambling

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said during Monday’s opening remarks at SEC Media Days that he wants to take proactive measures to manage sports betting within his league while maintaining the integrity of competition.

“For us, the integrity of our games is of the utmost importance,” Sankey said.  “While it may be preferred to have no expansion of gambling activity, what is needed now is for our state and federal legislative leads to enact policies that properly support the integrity of our games and provide the necessary protections for our students and our student-athletes.”

Despite his wishes of curbed expansion, Sankey has been planning for increased sports gambling scenarios since 2011. He said he has been in contact with professional leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and others on how they plan to approach to the inevitable uptick in legalized wagers.

Sankey commented on making game availability reports on the table for discussion, similar to the NFL releasing weekly injury reports that serve as valuable information to gamblers.

“FERPA and HIPAA requirements, academic suspensions, other team or athletics’ department imposed suspensions and NCAA eligibility issues make something more like an availability report relevant for discussion,” he said.

Since the Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning sports gambling earlier this year, several states have lined up to pass legislation allowing the practice. Laws in SEC country have either already been passed, or are on the books to allow sports betting in at least five states very soon, with Mississippi ready to take bets on July 21, 2018.

States with gambling laws in effect. (Photo via PlayUSA.com)

As for how Sankey will monitor gambling in his conference, he said he’ll leave that to those deeply involved in its regulation.

“Those involved in legalized gambling are the best at knowing what’s happened,” he said. “I think some of the state laws include expectations for communication around transparency. If there are oddities, I think that’s one of those elements that we would encourage.”

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