How Tipico Sportsbook & US Integrity Handled Suspicious CONCACAF Bets

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On March 7, Austin FC entered its CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 game against Violette AC as a huge betting favorite. So, red flags arose when Tipico Sportsbook started receiving an inordinate amount of action that included bets on the underdog, a struggling Haitian side.

Tipico bettors capitalized on Violette AC at odds ranging from +2500 to +4500, depending on what time the bet was made on game day. What followed serves as an interesting case study on how sportsbooks collaborate with industry watchdog US Integrity when suspicious betting patterns arise.

“We received 20x the amount of stake size that we normally do, so 20x the normal activity for one of these types of matches,” Tipico Sportsbook Manager Sunny Gupta told Gaming Today in an exclusive interview this week. “That huge underdog ended up winning and causing huge payouts.”

Austin FC lost in inglorious fashion, 3-0, and this “own goal” seemed to suggest the fix might have been in.

Tipico notified US Integrity to help determine if other sportsbook operators had the same potentially fraudulent activity. None did, as the company’s subsequent investigation concluded.

Tipico later realized that Austin FC didn’t bring all of its first-team players due to bad field conditions and injury concerns. The game was played at a neutral site in the Dominican Republic due to political unrest in Haiti.

CONCACAF suspicious betting patterns at Tipico-US Integrity
Austin FC fans had little to cheer after a 3-0 loss to Violette AC in a CONCACAF game on March 7. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“It ended up being nothing suspicious,” Gupta said. “It was just people that found out and had done their research on it and won their bets.”

Case closed.

Open Lines of Communication Between Tipico & US Integrity

Communication goes both ways. US Integrity sends us alerts “not daily but a few times a week with any suspicious wagers” that industry sportsbooks report. To date, Gupta said Tipico has self-reported suspicious betting patterns on only four occasions.

“None of those four times did other operators have suspicious activities,” he said. “Then we settled it as a customer getting lucky or whatever that might be. It’s for other operators to be aware, so that we can share that information and make sure that we are cracking down on any suspicious activity.”

Does a $66,500 bet on an obscure women’s college basketball game qualify as suspicious? That was the amount one Tipico patron made on a game between Southern vs. Texas Southern in January 2022. US Integrity and Tipico worked together and confirmed there were no integrity concerns. 

“Every operator has their own risk-limit configuration, and what they’re willing to take as their max bet,” Gupta said. “We see the bet come in, and it goes through the normal risk processes. We saw the odds were fair, and other operators were offering the exact same lines. We deemed that it wasn’t something that we weren’t going to take on.

“Unfortunately, for that customer, they ended up losing that bet by, I think, one point.”

More recently, another Tipico customer enjoyed a $45,300 payday when Brian Harman won the British Open on Sunday at odds of +15000. In situations like that, it’s standard operating procedure for US Integrity to alert the industry.

“Anytime somebody has a large bet on somebody that wasn’t expected (to win), then they will report it out to every other sportsbook to make sure there is nothing suspicious going on,” he said.

How Tipico Handles Sports Skewed More Toward Fraudulent Activity

Tipico utilizes US Integrity’s information on leagues that lean heavily toward fraudulent activity to help configure betting limits and identify what sports should be prioritized.

US Integrity Founder & CEO Matt Holt recently told Gaming Today, “Tennis and eSports are by far the two that we see the most alerts in. I’d say they probably make up a third of all the alerts.

That is actionable information for Tipico, which adjusts betting markets and limits accordingly.

“We notice that there are more eSports suspicious wagering than pretty much any other sport, which is why we have deprioritized integrating eSports into our sportsbook even though it’s rapidly rising in popularity,” Gupta said.

Tournaments sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) are also highly scrutinized for fraudulent activity.

“Those limits are our lowest limits by far compared to ATP and the top-level leagues, where we’re going to allow high limits,” Gupta said. “We’re also more cautious with our live wagering. We’re a little more stringent with ITF versus ATP.”

In recent years, betting limits have been a source of considerable debate among sportsbooks and bettors. Gupta (pictured right) provided a peek into Tipico’s operating system and how the sportsbook establishes limits.

“We have our own proprietary customer rating model,” he said. “We feel after five bets that we can determine a customer’s predicted margin over time. Based on that, we’ll set the customer’s risk limits. Then there’s the sport, league, and market level as well. So, every limit isn’t built the same.”

He added, “If you want to bet $10,000 on an NFL moneyline, we know those markets are quite efficient, and we’re happy to take that on. But $10,000 on a smaller college football game alternate yards total for the second running back? That’s going to be a different limit because we’re less confident in that pricing.”

Clearing up ‘States’ of Confusion

US Integrity also assists sportsbook operators as they wade through the sometimes Byzantine regulations regarding approved leagues in different states. For example, Slamball was recently approved in select states.

In Tipico’s case, there are few restrictions to what the sportsbook can offer in New Jersey. That’s not the case in Ohio, where — reverting back to the tennis example — Tipico can offer betting markets on the ATP, but not on ATP Challenger or ITF matches.

“US Integrity has been quite helpful in identifying suspicious wagering activity,” Gupta said.  “Now it seems like the next step is helping operators with the league approval process. We are new in Ohio and Iowa — and every state has its own regulations — and it seems like US Integrity is now trying to play a part so that the operators are compliant with the state regulators. It’s been a great partnership with them.”

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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