This week we had the opportunity to connect with Matthew Holt who is President of U.S. Integrity, a sports betting analytics company that monitors unethical or illegal betting-related activity. U.S. Integrity also partners with Ohio University where they offer a three-part legal sports gambling awareness program called SGE.
We asked Matthew a few quick questions about the goals of U.S. Integrity and where legal U.S. sports betting is headed in 2021.
What are the main challenges that regulators and operators face in the current post-PASPA U.S. sports betting industry?
Holt. As of now strong Integrity & Data Sharing mandates and regulations do not uniformly exist. These mandates and regulations are critical to the core mission of regulated sports betting, which is to transition bettors from the illegal market and into the regulated sports betting marketplace.
The main focus is customer dispute resolution and integrity monitoring and neither happen efficiently without data sharing.
Will offshore books have a place in legal sports betting in the U.S? If so, what steps do they need to take in order to compete with local operators?
Holt. We are seeing an influx of these books already with some of the more high profile offshore books going through processes in states with regulated sports betting. While each licensing case is different it appears there are restitution processes being established now that will give some of these former offshore operators opportunities to work in the regulated environment.
How are odds and bets monitored today and what activities are tracked to ensure fair play?
Holt. U.S. Integrity uses live and archived line movement from operators along with anonymized wagering data to analyze wagering markets for wagering abnormalities. These abnormalities are compared to any abnormalities within the event or information lead up to the event and then we examine any and all correlations between these abnormalities. This helps identify events that require data analysts to review the event and associated wagering activity further.
What are the key aspects of U.S. sports betting to keep an eye on as we enter 2021?
Holt. Two key things should happen quickly in the regulated sports betting space.
A: Regulatory and Legislative Changes. With the pandemic many legislative sessions were cancelled and some states either still have temporary regs or are refining or even creating their regs. Expect to see better technology advances for things like Approved Wager Auditing, Data Sharing and Integrity, and other Sports betting compliance processes.
B: A big shift towards mobile. Many states with regulated sports betting have still not or are just now approving mobile sports betting. Regardless of why mobile was not approved initially, the numbers don’t lie. In states that offer both mobile and retail the vast majority of the gets are being placed on mobile devices.
Assuming integrity and data sharing advances happen then mobile sports wagering will become more safe and secure for customers and easier to track for abnormalities and suspicious activity from a regulatory standpoint. If the goal of the states is to create more taxable revenue then mobile is key and with the right data sharing and integrity mandates in place it can also be easier to sniff out the bad actors as well.