The gambling regulatory body in Ohio has suspended licensed sports betting operators that operate in the state from accepting wagers on Alabama baseball games. The decision followed a report that warned such bets could be involved in suspicious gambling activity.
The beginning of the week saw the executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, Matthew Schuler, issue the emergency order that banned the acceptance of any wagers on the University of Alabama Baseball with immediate effect. According to the order’s wording, the state was notified about the controversial bets by one of the local certified independent integrity monitors.
Currently, legal sports betting services are available in more than 30 US states. For the time being, it still remains unclear whether any other states had issued orders similar to the one issued by the top gambling regulator of Ohio at the beginning of the week.
After the order was officially made public, the spokesperson of the state’s Casino Control Commission, Jessica Franks, shared that the gambling watchdog was still looking into the matter.
As reported by ESPN, the sports betting monitoring company US Integrity set out an alert to local sportsbook operators warning of “suspicious wagering activity” that involved the Alabama-Louisiana State University (LSU) game that took place on Friday night. At the time, Alabama scored five runs in the ninth inning of an LSU loss of 8 to 6. Louisiana State University, however, was ranked first in the major college baseball polls. Alabama, on the other hand, got unranked.
The deputy athletic director of Alabama Athletics, Jessica Paré, issued a statement, saying that the organization learned about the situation on Monday evening, so it was now actively seeking more details on the matter.
NCAA Still Investigating on the Alleged Suspicious Betting Activity
The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) issued a statement, saying that it was aware of the situation and was actively working to gather further information on the situation.
For the time being, US Integrity refused to comment. As stated on the organization’s website, it monitors data to check whether discrepancies coincide with notable athletes or coaching events, indicate the misuse of sensitive information available to insiders only, or reveal officiating abnormalities.
Under existing NCAA rules, professional athletes and athletic employees are not allowed to place wagers on sports games. They are also banned from providing inside or sensitive information to people involved in or associated with any type of sports betting services and activities in regard to amateur, professional, or intercollegiate athletics competitions.
According to Baird Fogel, a California attorney who is experienced in working with the sports betting industry, flagging wagers like this often occurs when serious fluctuations of the odds take place at the last minute, especially when it comes to games where one team is ranked much higher than the other. He noted that in the Alabama-LSU case, the game took an odd turn where the inferior team had started making “a huge run”.
Mr. Fogel explained that all of this could be mere speculation, or it could be a coincidence. He believes that if US Integrity flagged an anomaly and detected any type of unusual activity or discrepancy, it would be a good thing for regulators to listen to them and take measures to prevent potential harm or violations.