NCAA Tournament

Excitement About NCAA Basketball Tournament Brings Sports Betting, Concerns About Scams

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It’s not just UConn teams looking for wins as the NCAA Tournament gets underway.

Lots of fans are betting big on their favorite teams.

And with more states allowing sports wagering, the industry is growing into the billions of dollars.

Along with all of that cash comes concerns about potential scams.

For college basketball fans, there was excitement as they watched the NCAA Tournament get underway at the Mohegan Sun FanDuel Sportsbook Thursday.

“It’s a lot of fun. Being able to cheer here with everybody,” said Danny Castro, of Willimantic.

“It’s a happening once a year where you get all the teams together -- especially your favorite college teams,” said John Greim, of Cranston, Rhode Island.

Approximately 62 million Americans are expected to wager more than $15 billion on March Madness, according to the American Gaming Association.

A lot has been driven by the growth of the legal market, which has led to lots of reservations at Mohegan.

“To me this is the best time of the year. Most people like Super Bowl. But I think this is the best three or four days of sportsbook is March Madness because you have so many games,” said Brad Bryant, Mohegan Sun FanDuel Sportsbook general manager.

While it’s the second year people in Connecticut could place bets on the games, there’s more buzz as other states, including Massachusetts, are now also allowing it.

“It's a great opportunity, you know, for the scammers to trick people into, you know, giving them their money,” said Alex Hamerstone, TrustedSec advisory solutions director.

Hamerstone – a cybersecurity expert – urges sports fans to be cautious online.

  • There are fake sports betting sites or apps
  • Suspicious texts or messages that could include bogus signup, billing or gift notifications
  • Hackers taking over someone’s account, especially those that aren’t used a lot
  • And finally identity theft gambling, where someone uses stolen identities to register on a platform

“They always are almost always people use a sense of urgency because they're aware that the more that you think about the scam, the more that you think about what you're doing, the more likely you are to realize the scam and not go through with it,” said Hamerstone.

Those with concerns about problem gambling can look into a state resource called Responsible Play.

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