The NCAA says it will be keeping a close eye on wagering happening around this year’s men’s basketball tournament.
This year, bookmakers will be operating just down the street from tournament venues in Indianapolis.
According to figures from the American Gaming Association reported by ESPN, more than 47 million American are expected to make a bet on this year’s tournament.
The NCAA and gaming regulators say they’ll monitoring the betting closely. The NCAA and the Indiana Gaming Commission work with third-party companies to track betting for any irregularities that might compromise the integrity of a game.
"The NCAA and its members are evolving as the sports wagering continues to change. We are continuing to expand our efforts across these important areas to ensure we are protecting the integrity of competition and the well-being of student-athletes," an NCAA spokesperson told ESPN in a statement. "Sports wagering education remains a priority of the NCAA's efforts with the goal of providing a variety of materials to support the membership's educational initiatives."
Approximately $127.2 million was bet on basketball (college and professional) in Indiana sportsbooks in February. Significantly more is expected to be wagered on the tournament in coming weeks.
"Our highest priority is assuring the integrity of these activities," Jenny Reske, deputy director for the Indiana Gaming Commission, told ESPN. "I understand this is the first tournament played in a state with legal sports betting, but I think we've contemplated all the scenarios, looked at best practices and we're prepared to properly regulate the activity."