Monday, July 23, 2007

Vegas bookies as sporting watchdogs?

This is an interesting paragraph from Slate on how Las Vegas bookies aim to keep sports clean:
If the NBA spent more time listening to Las Vegas, it probably would've known all this two years ago. As USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan points out, "Nevada bookmakers are a clearinghouse for illegal bookies." Any suspicious bets taken on college campuses or the corner bar get reported back to Vegas sports books, not the local district attorney. Think back to the point-shaving scandal that hit college football this spring. A Vegas oddsmaker thought the betting activity on University of Toledo games looked suspicious. He blew the whistle to the NCAA, and an investigation ultimately revealed Toledo players' connections to a Michigan gambler. That's how game-fixing gets snuffed out—usually. But according to Sheridan and professional handicapper R.J. Bell, the NBA is the only major pro sports league that doesn't stay in regular contact with Vegas about unusual betting activity. "A few years ago the NCAA wanted to abolish gambling on college sports altogether," Sheridan says. "Now, they are sleeping with Nevada. The NBA just got a wake up call. They need to join us in the 21st century."