The Ohio Casino Control Commission issued an emergency order Monday prohibiting sportsbooks in the state from accepting wagers on games involving the University of Alabama baseball program. The news was first reported by ESPN.
U.S. Integrity flagged last Friday’s game between Alabama and No. 1 LSU, an 8-6 LSU win, for suspicious betting activity, according to ESPN’s report.
“The Commission received information from one of its certified independent integrity monitors regarding wagers made on University of Alabama baseball, and made the decision to prohibit all wagers on UA Baseball,” an OCCC spokesperson told Sports Handle. “We are continuing to look into the matter.”
I just wanna know who is betting on Alabama baseball from Ohio https://t.co/LRVgZlVAMh
— Maxwell Donaldson (@_Max_Donaldson) May 2, 2023
What was the suspicious activity?
Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns told NOLA.com that bets made in Cincinnati, Ohio, were flagged. Johns said a parlay involving the LSU-Alabama game and a “large” moneyline bet on LSU to win were both pegged as suspicious. ESPN reported that the bets were taken at the BetMGM Sportsbook at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds.
The potential suspicious activity appears to be related only to Alabama and not LSU. Wagers on future LSU games are allowed under the OCCC’s emergency order, and both FanDuel and DraftKings have betting lines (moneyline only) available for Tuesday’s game between LSU and Southeastern Louisiana.
Alabama is next scheduled to play Thursday at home against Vanderbilt.
Some fans speculated that Friday’s suspicious activity could have had to do with Alabama’s projected starting pitcher, Luke Holman, being a late scratch with back tightness, but that theory hasn’t been confirmed by any credible sources. Head coach Brad Bohannon praised Hagan Banks, who started in Holman’s place and allowed four runs over three innings.
“Hagan Banks did a good job, especially for finding out an hour before the game that he was going to start,” Bohannon said. “He went out and competed for three innings.”
Sports Handle reached out to Alabama’s athletic department, and a spokesperson said Tuesday evening that Alabama “became aware of this situation Monday evening and is actively seeking information about the report.”
NCAA, operators analyzing the situation
The NCAA told Sports Handle that it’s looking into Friday’s game and associated betting activity.
“The NCAA takes sports wagering very seriously and is committed to the protection of student-athlete well-being and the integrity of competition,” an NCAA spokesperson said. “We are aware of this issue and actively gathering additional information.”
This is not the only incident to cause negative press for Alabama’s athletic department this week. Matt Self, Alabama’s deputy athletic director, was arrested Sunday and charged with third-degree domestic violence. Self leads Alabama’s compliance office.
A FanDuel spokesperson told Sports Handle that it didn’t accept any bets on the game and that it removed the game from its platform nationwide “out of an abundance of caution.” The sportsbook is still determining how it will handle Alabama baseball games the rest of the season.
“We’ve not made any additional decisions regarding Alabama baseball beyond what’s been shared,” the FanDuel spokesperson said.
Tuesday morning, FanDuel had odds for Alabama to win the College World Series listed, but those odds have since been removed across multiple jurisdictions. DraftKings lists odds of +10000 for the Crimson Tide to win the national championship.
New Jersey sportsbooks were told Wednesday to temporarily stop offering betting markets on Alabama baseball games, according to ESPN.
Generally, college baseball games draw minimal attention nationally from sports bettors. A mobile sportsbook keeping Alabama baseball games off its betting menu likely won’t upset many fans, and it certainly won’t make a major impact on an operator’s betting handle.