Gaming Regulators Probing Unusual Betting Activity in UNM vs. UNLV Football Game
Gaming regulators in multiple states are currently investigating reports of suspicious betting activity surrounding the football game between the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) that took place on November 4. According to the Action Network, a significant amount of money was wagered on the game, raising concerns due to the unusual betting patterns.
Just hours before the game, a major US sportsbook contacted the independent integrity monitoring firm US Integrity to report the suspicious activity. There were numerous new accounts that had been opened solely for the purpose of wagering on the game, which is typically considered a red flag in the industry. UNLV was favored to win by 10.5 points at first, but by the time the game kicked off, the point spread had increased to 16.5 points, and UNLV ended up winning the game by a significant margin, with a final score of 56-14.
New Mexico’s head coach, Danny Gonzales, was fired on November 26, but the termination was unrelated to the investigation involving the UNM vs. UNLV game. According to New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez, the decision to fire Gonzales was based on the team’s recent performance record. However, Nuñez did acknowledge that he was notified about the suspicious bets around November 11, approximately a week after the game.
Both New Mexico and UNLV have denied any involvement in the suspicious betting activity, with Nuñez stating, “The whole staff was adamant they didn’t see anything (suspicious). They were all pissed off we lost so bad… We looked around and looked into it, and there was nothing different (than any other game), except getting our ass kicked.” UNLV head coach Barry Odom also stated that there was nothing unusual in any player’s performance that suggested foul play.
The NCAA prohibits athletes, coaches, and staff from participating in sports wagering activities and from providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur, or professional athletic competitions. As a result, many states that have legalized sports betting do not permit wagering on NCAA games due to concerns about potential corruption and the vulnerability of young, poorly paid athletes.
Following several recent scandals in collegiate sports involving betting, regulators and sports organizations are taking a closer look at the integrity of betting markets and the potential impact on college athletics.