Sunday, February 19, 2023

It is more important than ever to teach your students probability (even non-stem students)

(This topic was also covered here.) 

You are a college president. An online betting company says  We will give you X dollars if you allow us to promote online gambling at your University.

I suspect you would say NO.

Too late- it's already happening. A link to a NY times article about this is: here. I urge you to read the entire article. It's worse than it sounds. 

My thoughts

0) I wondered if  a company needed permission to promote a product on a campus. I am not sure of the answer; however, in some cases a school HELPED with the promotion: 

a) During a game there are announcements reminding students that they can place a sports bet! It's easy! It's fun!

b) Links on the schools website to sports gambling sites

c) References to sports betting in emails that goto students.

This is WAY BEYOND  allowing a company to promote.

1) Some points from the article 

Some aspects of the deals also appear to violate the gambling industry's own rules against marketing to underage people. The ``Responsible Marketing Code'' published by the American Gaming Association, the umbrella group for the industry, says sports betting should not be advertised on college campuses. 

``We are not seeing enough oversight, transparency, and education to support the rollout of these kinds of deals'' said Michael Goldman who teaches sports marketing at the Univ of San. Fran. 

During the pandemic, many universities struggled financially ...To fill those holes public and private universities nationwide have been struggling to line up new revenue sources, including by arranging sponsorship deals. (MY THOUGHTS- They don't quite say it, but it seems like the extra money is going back to sports programs. I would be happier if it went into academics- and to be fair, maybe some of it does.) 

2) Online gambling is more addictive than in-person gambling. And it's easier since you don't have to leave your dorm room to do it. 

3) The school gets money and  teaches the students that everything is for sale. So it's a win-win (I am kidding.) 

4) Should a college take  money to allow the promotion of tobacco or alcohol or (if it becomes legal) heroin? I see NO difference between those and online gambling. (See here)

5) I am in favor of all of those things being legal (maybe not heroin but I am open to debate on that)  however, there is a big difference between making something legal, and promoting it.  

6) Silver Lining: This may encourage more students, even non-STEM students, to learn probability. Either advertise it honestly:

Take Probability to find out that Sports Betting is a Loser's Game

Or advertise it dishonestly

Take Probability to find out how you can win at Sports Betting!



  1. Time to start a business called GamblingEdu in the same style as AlcoholEdu.

  2. Upon seeing your comment I googled AlcholEdu and didn't get anything- so what do they do and do they have a website?

    1. Is that how you spelled it?


    3. 1) Thanks- YES I had mispelled it which is why I could not find it.
      2) I got to the website and will quote it for my readers:

      AlcoholEdu® for College is an interactive online program that uses the latest evidence-based prevention methods to create a highly engaging learning experience, inspiring students to make healthier decisions related to alcohol and other drugs.

      3) back to your point- yes, GamblingEdu may be needed. The contrast is that (I don't think) any college PROMOTES drinking, while it looks like some are PROMOTING gambling.

    4. "(I don't think) any college PROMOTES drinking"

      Beer sales at sporting events?

    5. Good question- I do not know if colleges PROMOTE beer sales at sporting events, or just provide it? And where to draw the line?
      Also note that many people (most?) at these event are under 21 so its illegal for them to drink.

  3. "Sports betting agreements at U. Md., other schools shielded from public view"