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Sports Gambling Puts “Pressure” on Ole Miss Athletes

Mississippi casinos have recently permitted gamblers to start betting on their favorite sports teams. The Mississippi general fund picked up $54,000 in revenue from sports betting in August – the first month that people were allowed to place bets on sporting events at the state’s casinos.

Ronald Rychlak is a professor of law at the University of Mississippi and the faculty representative for Ole Miss Athletics. He says new sports betting laws create new risks for teams. He’s worried a gambler may try to influence the outcome of games through the players.

“We’re certainly concerned at the University if our players are maybe having pressure put upon them and get an angle on them and lean on them and get some information,” says Rychlak.

Betting may also put more pressure on athletes when they know how much money is at stake. Freshman football player, Harrison Homberg is among the athletes who say knowing people are betting on the games adds a bit more stress.

“As an athlete, if someone bets for us we feel like we need to uphold that and do our best to win for them and for our fans,” Homberg said. “Especially because they all come to our games and support us and we just have to do it for them.”

Sports betting is expected to earn millions for the state each year, so the pressure on Ole Miss athletes will likely remain.

Story produced by Meek School of Journalism & New Media students Lauren Conley and Amanda Haley.

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