The increase in online sports gambling advertisements on television and the internet have coincided with a steep rise in the amount of money spent on sports gambling. In the past year alone, the American Gaming Association reported that over $93 billion had been spent on sports gambling, making it a lucrative industry.
The rise in sports gambling has brought with it a number of scandals, particularly in college sports. In fact, there have been several incidents in college sports this year that have raised questions about the integrity of college athletes involved in gambling. One prime example of this occurred during the Iowa Hawkeyes versus Iowa State Cyclones game in September, when five players, including Iowa State’s star quarterback, were sidelined due to criminal betting charges. Some of these players even bet on their own teams, which is a serious violation of ethical standards.
In response to these incidents, U.S. Integrity, a Las Vegas-based tech firm, has been working with major college conferences and sports leagues to monitor and prevent illicit betting on games. However, this wasn’t the first time U.S. Integrity intervened in suspected gambling activity in college sports. They had previously detected suspicious betting patterns in a University of Alabama baseball game, which led to the firing of the baseball coach for allegedly helping an associate make bets against his own team.
U.S. Integrity’s Chief Operating Officer, Scott Sadin, employs his background in the hedge fund world to analyze sports data and detect any alarming betting behavior. The company focuses on betting lines, odds, social media posts, and other data to identify suspicious activity and alert leagues, state regulators, and the NCAA.
The rise of online sports gambling has made gambling scandals more prevalent in college sports. The number of Division 1 teams in college basketball is significantly higher than in professional sports leagues, making it challenging for U.S. Integrity and similar organizations to monitor and regulate gambling activity effectively.
NCAA president Charlie Baker expressed concern over the prevalence of online gambling and its impact on the integrity of college sports. The ease of access to online betting platforms poses a significant challenge for student athletes and sports organizations. Matt Holt of U.S. Integrity also echoed these concerns, acknowledging that recent scandals have revealed the challenges of preventing illicit gambling activity in college sports.
The increase in sports gambling has undoubtedly brought with it a wave of challenges, particularly in college sports. The growing trend of online gambling has forced organizations to invest more resources and effort into monitoring and preventing illicit betting to protect the integrity of sports.