As sports betting keeps expanding in Connecticut, some young people see it in their futures. Sports betting is on phones, in casinos, and now also in the classroom.
At the University of Connecticut, students are learning exactly how to score a win through sports gambling. They are taking lessons from someone who knows the subject matter well.
“It's something that I've never experienced before. So it's a totally different ballgame for me!” Siddherdh Rajguru, MBA candidate at UConn School of Business, said.
Many UConn graduate schools are interested in learning more about the growing industry.
“It feels amazing, like how you can play with numbers and take business decisions, and in terms of sports betting as well because it's a great opportunity,” Ankit Lohia, also an MBA candidate at UConn School of Business, said.
They are learning about sports gambling from someone with a lot of passion for it: David Bergman. He got involved about three years ago.
“I’ve been to the basketball championship, I've been to the baseball world championship, I’ve been to the golf world championship. So really play all the sports,” Bergman said.
Bergman is an analytics professor, but he wears more than one hat.
“He used the analytics to actually win a huge bet. And that was the most impressive thing that I've ever had ever heard in my entire life!” Rajguru said.
That huge bet made Bergman the 2020 DraftKings Fantasy Football World Champion.
“It is fun. It is cool to meet people. And it's also really a playground for math,” he said.
Bergman credits his success to analytics. It’s what he is now conveying to students. While he teaches stats and database courses, Bergman says the class most applicable to sports wagering is Business Decision Modeling.
The students even get firsthand experience.
“My final project for some of my classes is to play against me in a daily fantasy sports competition, of course, for free,” Bergman said. “I typically don't win those, which means that my students are actually learning quite a bit.”
The future is bright for sports betting in Connecticut, Bergman believes, as the industry continues to evolve.
“A couple years back, there was some kind of negative feeling towards betting, and professional sports leagues wouldn't have interactions with sports betting platforms,” he said. “Now, if you watch a sporting game, you can't get away from DraftKings or FanDuel. It just gives the constituents of Connecticut yet another way to interact with sports.”
Many of Bergman’s students are now looking forward to taking a gamble with their new skills
“I'm pretty sure if I take more classes with him and understand the way he thinks I'll be able to do that pretty soon,” Rajguru said.
Some students even envision potential careers.
“If a student is good enough with his statistics skills and his predictive skills, why cannot he pursue a career in sports betting?” Lohia said.