Stories of illegal sports betting on the University of Florida’s campus

By Alexis Ashby | Jan. 24, 2023

The fastest and largest legalization of sports gambling in U.S. history started in 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The law had outlawed sports gambling in all states except the four in which the practice was already legal when PASPA was enacted in 1992.

In Florida, sports gambling was temporarily legalized in 2021, but a judge rejected the compact between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida shortly after it was instated.

Sports gambling remains illegal while the case makes its way through the appeals process.

In states where sports betting is illegal, many people are forced to partake through bookmakers, or bookies for short. Some students estimated that at least 20 percent and perhaps as high as 65% of sports fans at the University of Florida participate in illegal online sports betting.

For this three-part series, Alexis Ashby of WUFT News talked with betters, bookies and experts to understand why and how sports betting is so prevalent on college campuses.