bettingroundup071117 Betting roundup

Momentum gains on SCOTUS sports betting case; ESPN looks at fraud in future of betting

Twice weekly, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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Supporters of federal sports betting legalization efforts have been seeing some positive momentum.

“We’re on the Hill daily, in the House and the Senate, and we’ve identified people who could be champions of legislation when the time comes,” AGA CEO Geoff Freeman told reporters on Tuesday.

“There will be some unlikely allies, some unusual bedfellows on this issue,” he said. “Lawmakers who have looked at the issue in the past, and now realize we are in a different time than 1992.”


The Press of Atlantic City published an editorial saying that New Jersey’s odds on legalizing sports betting suddenly look pretty good.

Wallach, the sports gambling attorney, said if the top court doesn’t undo the ban, federal legislation might anyway. “There’s a 100 percent likelihood sports gambling will become legal. The question is when, or how.”

Maybe a bipartisan effort by Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, and Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th, to get such a bill through the House will succeed.

But it looks more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court, in the interest of limiting federal overreach, will end the unfair favoring of a few states over the others.


There is a chance that the U.S. Supreme Court Case could actually backfire and Nevada could lose its right to allow sports betting.

The result of such a finding by SCOTUS would be the end of legal sports betting in Nevada. It would also end parlay betting in Delaware and limited wagering elsewhere. (While most usually refer to four states grandfathered in under PASPA — Oregon and Montana included — the Rodenberg/Holden article theorizes the number of states could actually be nine.)

Nevada, of course, has had legal sports betting for decades. PASPA has been on the books since 1992. A finding against the grandfathered states would be a huge hit to an industry that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for Nevada’s economy. That’s in addition to tax revenue for the state.

It would also mean the only path to legal wagering in the US would be to repeal PASPA via Congress. Of course, Nevada losing sports betting could accelerate such a scenario.


Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples suggests that the NCAA should get ready for the possibility of legalized sports betting nationwide.

The biggest question is how the schools and the NCAA would handle gambling if this came to pass. They likely wouldn’t change any of their rules against athletes, coaches and officials gambling on sports even though such activity would be legal for people 21 and older in certain states. This makes sense. It’s vital to the enterprise that the games be straight up, and having coaches, players or officials gambling on sports could cast doubt on the integrity of the games. That’s bad for business. What could be good for business are the same kind of sponsorships that the pro leagues would inevitably seek from gambling entities. But the schools and NCAA would be unwise to keep that money. Fuhrman proposed a potentially workable solution for this sticky issue. “If the NCAA is anti-gambling,” he said, “what better way is there than to work with states and put together a players pension where you’re giving back to the athletes?”

ESPN Chalk published another article in their special series on the future of sports betting focusing on fake news, manipulated data and fraud.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the Asian Football Confederation found that the Timorese football association was using falsified birth documents to assemble a team. Many of the implicated players were from Brazil, and some had doctored passports. Interpol is now involved.

Not that Franke, a central defender from SpVgg Greuther Fürth in Germany’s second division, knew any of this when his name appeared on that leaked team sheet. As became clear a few weeks later, the leak was a hoax, and Franke was simply unlucky enough to have his name included in the scam. But Franke was far from alone. Other fake social media accounts have emerged like a game of whack-a-mole, ensnaring numerous other players and teams in the region.

Was it simply a twisted catfishing prank, or was it part of something more sinister, such as a fake news campaign to perpetuate betting fraud?

“What it does indicate is the importance of data and rise of cybercrime when discussing sport corruption and fraud,” said Jake Marsh, the head of integrity operations at the sports data group Perform. “It won’t just be Wiki[pedia] being manipulated.”

It isn’t happening only on far-flung tropical islands, either. As bookmakers across the globe have discovered, data manipulation for gambling purposes is widespread. Betting fraud has even captured the attention of U.S. sports leagues and a member of Congress.

A new startup plans to use artificial intelligence to bet on sports.

It’s a familiar story, but Stratagem is adding a little something extra to sweeten the pot: artificial intelligence.

At the moment, the company uses teams of human analysts spread out around the globe to report back on the various sporting leagues it bets on. This information is combined with detailed data about the odds available from various bookmakers to give Stratagem an edge over the average punter. But, in the future, it wants computers to do the analysis for it. It already uses machine learning to analyze some of its data (working out the best time to place a bet, for example), but it’s also developing AI tools that can analyze sporting events in real time, drawing out data that will help predict which team will win.

Stratagem is using deep neural networks to achieve this task — the same technology that’s enchanted Silicon Valley’s biggest firms. It’s a good fit, since this is a tool that’s well-suited for analyzing vast pots of data. As Koukorinis points out, when analyzing sports, there’s a hell of a lot data to learn from. The company’s software is currently absorbing thousands of hours of sporting fixtures to teach it patterns of failure and success, and the end goal is to create an AI that can watch a range of a half-dozen different sporting events simultaneously on live TV, extracting insights as it does.

On Friday, DraftKings will add the WNBA to its daily fantasy sports offerings.

“It’s been on our roadmap since we launched the company,” DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish said. “Glad we finally [added it]. I think it will do really well.”

DraftKings has had a sponsorship deal with Madison Square Garden for the past few years. It’s been the marquee name on the New York Liberty’s jersey since 2015.

Kalish said it was too early to say if the site would offer any sort of promotions with the Liberty or MSG.