Can Sportradar tackle potential cheating at sports betting?

It’s been well-documented that the best people to ferret out sports cheats and game fixes are employed by Nevada’s legal sports books.

After all, they have a financial interest in the outcome of every race, match and meet posted in their books. If the fix is in and a player or players are under the influence of gamblers looking to make a quick score by collaborating with an athlete who doesn’t play up to his ability, the sports books are the ones that would take the financial hit.

That’s why I chuckled a little when I heard Sportradar AG, a Swiss company, was hired by the National Hockey League to address potential cheating in the sport — until I learned what Sportradar is all about.

Nevada sports books helped unravel a game-fixing scandal at Arizona State University in 1994.

That year, the old Horseshoe Race and Sports Book discovered some unusual betting patterns in ASU’s March basketball game against the University of Washington. Book employees alerted state Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander, who notified the FBI, which eventually investigated Stevin “Hedake” Smith, a two-time All-Pac-10 point guard who played for ASU from 1991-1994. Smith eventually was prosecuted for accepting $20,000 to shave points in ASU’s game against Oregon State University earlier that year.

Smith was arrested in summer 1997 and he and teammate Isaac Burton pled guilty to conspiracy for taking bribes to fix four games. He ended up serving a year and a day in prison and 1997 was the only year Smith saw any time playing in the National Basketball Association for the Dallas Mavericks.

Two decades later, cheating has become more sophisticated — but so has its detection. And that’s where Sportradar comes in.

Weeks after the NHL announced that it was awarding Las Vegas its first major-league franchise, it also said that it would incorporate Sportradar’s fraud detection system into its game-integrity protection package.

Instead of 64 Southern Nevada race and sports books paying attention to odd wagering patterns in a sport that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention at the betting window, there are 550 sports wagering operations worldwide processing data in real time.

Alex Inglot, who runs communications and is heavily involved in integrity work at Sportradar’s London office, said there isn’t much game-watching in his office. Instead, it’s all about monitoring the betting and much of that occurs through software the company has developed.

“The first phase is a technological algorithm-based policy in which we effectively take data from 550 operators around the world,” Inglot said in a telephone interview. “They include some in Nevada, online bookmakers, operators in Asia, from Europe, from Central America, Australia … and we take it in real time. That will allow us to track wagers on every NHL game.”

The software searches for anomalies based on a broad history of betting and anticipated results.

“We’re looking for movements and deviations (from patterns),” he said.

If the wagering pattern drastically deviates from the norm, the software generates a report that is further studied by Sportradar’s team of about 40 experts. They can also make contact with people on the ground at the site of the game so that they can make determinations on whether a line move is suspicious or not.

If the team considers it suspicious, it can quickly generate a 40-page report backed by data gathered from the books.

“We understand that players have bad days all the time,” Inglot said. “Maybe it’s their birthday and the play particularly well or maybe they got a bad night’s sleep because the baby was crying all night, or whatever it is. There are hundreds of reasons, or maybe a player just makes a mistake. That happens,” he said.

And that’s why there’s a human element attached to the effort.

Inglot said Sportradar’s greatest value may be in educating players about the detection protocols that are in place.

Prior to every season, the detection gurus explain how the games are monitored — kind of a “scared straight” strategy to show how their play is being watched and to discourage them from even thinking about collaborating with a fixer.

Sportradar has plenty of experience, not only with hockey but other sports as well. It has integrity deals with the International Ice Hockey Federation and the German Ice Hockey League.

Exclusive agreements with the NFL, the International Tennis Federation and NASCAR are among its 65 worldwide league and federation partnerships.

Its U.S. advisory board includes basketball legend Michael Jordan, Washington sports businessman Ted Leonsis and Mark Cuban, the majority owner of the same Dallas Mavericks team that signed Stevin “Hedake” Smith a few years after his basketball game-fixing shenanigans.

Inglot admitted that his home town isn’t a hockey hotbed, but at least he once saw an official NHL game in one of his travels to Canada.

That’s one more than what’s been played in Las Vegas.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like