LSR Q&A: US Integrity CEO On Sports Betting Hot Topics In 2024

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It was a busy sports betting year for US Integrity founder and CEO Matt Holt in 2023

US Integrity was at the forefront of several sports betting investigations. It also agreed to a multitude of integrity partnerships with collegiate conferences and professional leagues

With the calendar flipping to 2024, Holt recently discussed a few noteworthy topics with LSR

LSR: What do you hope changes with sports betting integrity in 2024? 

Holt: I think last year we all got a big dose of reality on the prohibited bettor. And I think there’s real practical solutions out there in the ecosystem now. Including one that we’ve run, Prohibet. To make sure that these prohibited bettors aren’t able to wager on events that they’re prohibited from wagering on. So I’m hoping that, while 2023 was certainly the year of the prohibited bettor, with over 100 cases, that in 2024 we’ll be dealing with a lot of other issues.

I’m sure there will still be a few that sneak through. But for the most part, we can try to put the prohibited bettor problem to bed. But again, like anything else, in order for the solution to work, we need full buy-in, commitment and engagement from both sides of the ecosystem: the league and the sportsbook stakeholder side. 

LSR: Should leagues have an obligation to provide transparency on player wrongdoing?

Holt: I get the curiosity angle. What we were told in (the Shane Pinto) situation is that there were not any integrity issues. And I do still believe in player privacy amongst people, period. That, if they didn’t violate any regulations or league policies that exist in the sports betting ecosystem, which would be integrity-related, inside information-related, prohibited bettor-related. If it didn’t violate any of those policies, then I’m OK with us not knowing.

Because I do feel like it’s none of our business. US Integrity, like the general public, is curious as a whole when things come up. ‘What happened? Should we be involved?’ But I do understand that if it doesn’t violate any of those issues, then I don’t know that it has to be disclosed, at least to the integrity provider, or to the public as an integrity issue.

Granted, transparency would go a long way in getting rid of some of rumors that start, and everything else. I think it’s always the best policy, because you get to tell the story, rather than people rushing to assumptions. But at the end of the day, I think at least on my side, we have to take the stance that if it doesn’t violate any state regulatory policies, any sports betting policies, and any league policies in and around sports betting, then it’s probably not our area of concern and we’re OK not knowing. 

LSR: How has it gone in terms of education among college players and staffers? 

Holt: Amazingly. The one commitment that we have seen is on the education side, and I think the Prohibet side. We have over 150 schools already engaged and actively participating in Prohibet. And we’re probably going to triple the number of universities and campuses that we are on-site this year, doing sports betting-related education to. And I always think that education is the best deterrent.

At the end of the day, making sure that everyone’s aware of the policies, understands the policies, and gets education surrounding recent and relevant case studies. Because the sports betting ecosystem is evolving too much. So if your education material is stale, if it’s not recent, relevant, fresh, and related to the athletes and staff that are involved, then it’s not going to have the impact. We’re hoping that we can continue to deliver very recent, relevant education materials, and we’re very appreciative of the commitments of both the professional and collegiate sports leagues. 

LSR: How are you looking at the emergence of AI in the sports betting space? 

Holt: We certainly are as interested in AI as anybody in the ecosystem. Because at the end of the day, there’s so much statistical and wagering data flowing through our system. And how do you identify what is abnormal, and worth the analyst’s time to continue to dig in and run down?

So the more that we can have AI-generated alerts and systems to us internally, the more focused our investigations can be. So we’re always trying to dial in how we can better utilize AI with our models, algorithms and technology.