NCAA can’t keep tournament games away from legal gambling

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By BEN NUCKOLS AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The NCAA is still opposed to gambling on its events even as sports betting spreads ahead of March Madness. But the governing body for college sports isn’t denying reality, either.

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The NCAA Tournament starting this week is the first since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed legal sports betting to expand last year. That decision prompted the NCAA to suspend a longtime ban on bringing championships to places where sports wagers are legal.

Three games in the women’s NCAA Tournament will be played this weekend in Mississippi, where people have been betting on college sports since last summer. Capital One Arena in Washington will host Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games on the men’s side next week and could have a full-service onsite sportsbook by this time next year.

The NCAA is considering new rules, but officials say they’re acknowledging they can’t avoid states with legal betting on sports.