US Integrity founder and CEO Matt Holt explained to LSR recently that increased sportsbook login activity during non-gameday events was the impetus for the NCAA betting probes into student-athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
The recent NCAA sports betting investigations show that student-athletes of legal age should stay away from sports wagering apps, at the very least, until they return home from practice.
Holt, during the interview, also expanded on how the University of Alabama baseball investigation unfolded.
Iowa sports betting probe at a glance
More than 100 current and former Iowa and Iowa State student-athletes are being investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation’s (DCI) Special Enforcement Operations Bureau.
The probe into possible violations of NCAA gambling policy is a month old, with no criminal charges filed. The probe involves multiple teams, which are being looked at one-by-one.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, working in tandem with DCI, has not responded to LSR requests for an update.
Why Iowa regulators stepped in
Holt explained how the investigation evolved.
“A state regulator decided to take a look at why they were getting all these logins from these facilities at a time when there were no events going on,” Holt said. “And because they looked and found all the information, they had to hand it over to (DCI.)
“And then DCI looks at age verification, people using other people’s accounts, because that’s a crime, and whether they’re betting on their own team. And I think that investigation, because of the number of people, will take a little while.”
Suspicious logins on NCAA campuses
Holt added more detail.
“If they’re logging in from the field, gymnasium, practice facility or arena at a time when there’s no fans, no vendors, no real security, it’s really easy to catch. And that’s going to spark things to these state regulators, who are going to say, ‘Hmm … Why are we getting 200 logins from the men’s locker room at Iowa St. right now?’”
“There’s no game going on there in the arena. Maybe we should take a peek and make sure all of these guys are at least 21, because they’re college kids. And also make sure they’re not using other people’s accounts or betting on Iowa St. games. And therefore you get people looking at it.”
Holt added that US Integrity is not currently investigating anyone from Iowa or Iowa State. Additionally, it has not received any integrity alerts from the Iowa state regulator about either of those schools.
Advice from NCAA betting probes
Holt’s advice to college students is to avoid using sports betting apps when at practice facilities, locker rooms, stadiums and arenas.
Instead, he urged them to use websites like ESPN or Yahoo Sports to check betting odds.
Holt also wants increased education for student-athletes, specifically around whether betting on their team can lead to criminal charges in certain jurisdictions.
Alabama baseball scandal at a glance
US Integrity also proved integral in its involvement in finding the Alabama baseball betting scandal.
The investigation is still open, and led to the firing of Crimson Tide coach Brad Bohannon.
Surveillance video at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati proved key.
Why video is integral in Alabama, NCAA betting probe
The video showed direct communication between Bohannon and bettor Bert Eugene Neff, Jr. Neff got in trouble for placing significant wagers on the April 28 game between Alabama and LSU.
“I can’t get into the facts, but let’s just say that (Neff’s) activity and his mannerisms around the actual sportsbook employees triggered them to then go to their manager, who said, ‘Let’s get surveillance on this,’” Holt said.
“And I think when the facts come out, when their investigation is done and they have to release the evidence, everyone will see that this guy didn’t make it hard. What he did, his activity, made it blatantly obvious something was wrong. And then they were able to report to their manager, and they were able to go to surveillance and get an unbelievable amount of evidence via surveillance.”