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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Risky business: exploring the culture of sports betting on campus

Dartmouth students find community and enjoyment through online and in-person sports betting.

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Courtesy of Edwin Omondi ’25

Sports betting has become a popular activity among many Dartmouth students, who place wagers primarily on professional sports both in person and online.

In 2019, New Hampshire legalized sports betting for those older than 18. Of the 29 states that have legalized sports gambling, New Hampshire is one of only three — along with Washington, D.C. — to allow the practice before the age of 21. That reality has made sports betting legally accessible to nearly all Dartmouth students. 

Carson Miller ’25, for example, said he first bet on sports while at Dartmouth. Miller will intern for the online sports betting platform DraftKings this summer. 

Dartmouth students have even taken sports betting into their own hands. On March 18, four students launched Rebet, a sports betting app where friends can view each other’s bets. Carson Hubbard ’26 and Liam Tassiello ’26, conceived of the idea through TuckLAB, an undergraduate-affiliated program with the Tuck School of Business. They teamed up with Isabella DiGiovanni ’25– who became the app’s chief marketing officer– and Edwin Onyango ’25 who was named chief technology officer, according to Onyango. The four co-founders began developing the app on campus and have been working on it for the last year, according to DiGiovanni. 

“Ultimately, [Rebet is] bringing this social aspect of a social media platform that is fueled by that love for sports and that passion for sports,” DiGiovanni said. “We’re trying to transform the sports betting industry into something that’s no longer solitary and risk-focused. It’s now social, fun and community centric. It’s bringing people together.”

Rebet combines online sports betting with social media elements such as a curated feed, liking and commenting functions and direct messages. The app also employs simple terminology to help reach first-time betters, according to DiGiovanni. 

Despite the prevalence of online betting platforms, Isaac Delaney ’27 said he prefers to bet in an “old-fashioned” style: a handshake and trust between friends. 

Of the students interviewed by The Dartmouth for this story, the majority preferred to bet on professional sports.

Miller, for one, said he only bets on the NFL, which he knows best. In February’s Super Bowl match-up, Miller bet against his home team, the San Francisco 49ers, and for the eventual champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

“For the Super Bowl, I actually bet on the Chiefs because it acted like an emotional hedge,” Miller said. “I saw that the odds were about even, and I had a feeling that [the 49ers] were going to lose again. Even though it was devastating, I did put a bet on the Chiefs and I made around $60.” 

Unfortunately for Miller, the winnings that he claimed were not enough to heal the emotional wounds of a home team loss, he said. 

While Miller keeps his bets to professional football, Cooper Weissman ’27 said he bets on a range of sports, adding that he thinks of betting as an opportunity for entertainment.

“I mainly do it just for the adrenaline,” Weissman said. “Honestly, I don’t do it as a way to make money but … [because] it makes watching the game more interesting and makes every single play feel more intense.”

March Madness is a popular time for sports betting at Dartmouth, Weissman added. While he said Dartmouth “has a positive sports betting culture,” he noted that only “select groups” of people engage — namely, friend groups and fraternities.. 

Weissman added that he believes the confluence of Dartmouth athletics and sports betting on campus has the potential to bolster both communities.