Inside Sports Wagering Watchdog US Integrity’s Booming Business

US Integrity CEO & Founder Matt Holt is always on the lookout for suspicious betting activity. It’s the crux of the job, given his company’s mission of alerting sportsbooks, teams, leagues, and conferences to possible corruption around the globe.

US Integrity’s roster of clients includes BetMGM, FanDuel, NBA, MLB, UFC, PGA Tour, and more. Business is bountiful with the continued spread of legal online sports betting.

“We average 15 to 18 alerts per month,” Holt told Gaming Today on Wednesday. “Of those, approximately half turn into suspensions, bans, or arrests related to sports betting activity.

“One of the misnomers with those numbers is that it’s just American sports. Unfortunately, for us, that includes some international events where the regulated US sportsbooks are taking action on them. We have to send alerts out because the books have them up.”

The global scope of US Integrity’s monitoring has to include everything from small tennis tournaments in Latin America to third-tier soccer leagues throughout Europe and much more in between. What sports lend themselves most to corruption?

“Tennis and eSports are by far the two that we see the most alerts in,” Holt said. “I’d say they probably make up a third of all the alerts. It’s huge.”

Aside from those two outliers, Holt noted that others sports are pretty uniform in their numbers.

“We tend to see an average of one in every 900 or so events have an issue that leads to an alert,” he said.

US Integrity’s tentacles extend far and wide across the industry. With the NFL this week suspending four players for violating the league’s gambling policy, Holt was asked when his company gets involved in player-related offenses.

“It depends what the player is wagering on,” he said. “If the player is wagering on his own sport, that’s a regulatory violation, and a lot of times US Integrity would be involved. If the player is wagering on his own game or his own team, we’re definitely going to be involved.”

Also read: Gambling Rules for Pro Athletes

A Day in the Life

In February 2022, Holt and his associates detected a big line move that suggested heavy syndicate action on an SEC men’s basketball game between Missouri and Mississippi State. Then he took a call from an unusual source that confirmed it.

“One of the bigger professional bettors — sometimes these bettors reach out, and I’m sure it’s after they bet it — reached out and said you should watch out for Missouri and Mississippi State because Missouri has travel issues,” Holt said.

Holt made a quick call to his SEC contact, who then called Missouri Athletic Director Desireé Reed-Francois to confirm before ringing Holt back.

“He called me back one minute later and said, ‘As always, your information is 100% accurate, but boy the Missouri AD would like to know how you know because the pilot just announced it six minutes ago,’” Holt said.

The line swung toward Mississippi State by six points (it closed Bulldogs -10.5), and the home team ran away with a 68-49 victory and an easy cover over the travel-weary Tigers.

US Integrity CEO & Founder Matt Holt
US Integrity CEO & Founder Matt Holt (Photo courtesy of US Integrity)

Discovering trends is part of the job at US Integrity, which uncovered this gem for college basketball and football dating back to 2020: When a team arrives late and does not have a pre-game warm-up, they are 0-13 straight-up and against the spread — for both the first half and the game.

“It’s inherently really bad for the team that has the travel issues, and doesn’t get to do their pre-game warm-up routines,” he said. “What we see is when that information gets out into the betting community, especially when it’s not public, the more astute betting syndicates seem to be keenly aware of that statistic. We’ll see massive line movement.”

Anonymous Text Hotline Available to Report Threats

US Integrity partnered with Real Response to offer Athlete Alert, which debuted a month ago. The anonymous text line is designed to ensure the safety of players, coaches, and other team members.

You can text anonymous tips to 843-USI-TIPS (843-874-7477) if you see:

  • Any participant involved in an athletic contest that is subject to physical threats, harm, or emotional abuse catalyzed by gambling-related losses.

  • There is any integrity-related concern, including but not limited to the misuse of insider information, potential match-fixing, game manipulation, or illegal wagering.

Holt said early usage has skewed more toward the former than the latter. Information is shared only with those individuals who’re involved in investigations.

“The premise of launching it wasn’t just for integrity but more for threats related to sports betting,” he said. “We’ve seen probably more of that so far instead of integrity issues, but the activity certainly seems to be picking up on college campuses as we do more and more educational (training) for them and are able to get the word out.

“I still don’t think we’re going to see the numbers we want until the students get back on campus in August.”

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a two-part series on US Integrity. We’ll focus on the company’s growing presence in college sports in the next installment.

About the Author
Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson

Senior Writer
Kris Johnson is a senior writer at Gaming Today with more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist. Johnson's work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and other publications. He also authored a sports betting novel titled The Endgame.

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