Ohio Temporarily Bans Bets on Alabama College Baseball After ‘Suspicious Activity’

Ohio Temporarily Bans Bets on Alabama College Baseball After ‘Suspicious Activity’ article feature image

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The Action Network's Darren Rovell contributed reporting to this story.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission has temporarily banned all wagers on games involving the University of Alabama's college baseball team after a report of suspicious betting activity, ESPN reported on Monday.

Alabama sophomore Luke Holman had been scheduled to start the game but was scratched just a few hours beforehand with a back injury, The Advocate's LSU beat reporter Leah Vann reported. Holman leads Alabama starters in strikeouts, wins and ERA.

Holman was listed as the starter in media handouts prior to the game, too.

Guess who’s back… back again…
Tommy & Tre are back…
Tell your friends #LSUpic.twitter.com/Xe6xYSjoJf

— Leah Vann (@LVann_Sports) April 28, 2023

Reliever Hagan Banks was told "an hour before" first pitch that he would be starting, the University of Alabama said in a postgame recap.

LSU won the game as massive favorites by a score of 8-6. The Tigers closed at -245 on the moneyline. LSU had been up 8-1 through seven innings and quelled five unanswered Alabama runs en route to the victory.

The day of the game, U.S. Integrity — an independent firm focused on monitoring insider information and referee compliance in betting markets — reported to the sportsbooks it partners with that there was "suspicious wagering activity" on the game.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission acted on that report, pressuring all sportsbooks operating in the state to halt betting on Alabama baseball indefinitely. The 17 sportsbooks include: Barstool, Bet365, Betfred, BetJACK, BetMGM, BetParx, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, HardRock, PointsBet, SuperBook and Tipico. Those sportsbooks are still permitted to host wagers in other states where betting on college baseball is permitted.

A source at a major American sportsbook told the Action Network that it's not clear if anything was truly amiss with the wagers.

Placing wagers on insider information is par for the course in sports betting — unlike in financial markets, where that behavior is regulated by the SEC. But, if the athletes or referees in the game are involved, the results may be punitive.

The chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Ronnie Johns, told NOLA.com the wagers were a parlay involving the game and the other a moneyline wager. They took place at the BetMGM Sportsbook at the Great American Ballpark, the home of the Reds, according to ESPN.

"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," said Jennifer Franks, spokesperson for the Ohio Casino Control Commission. "We are continuing to look into the matter."

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne did not respond to requests for comments made by the Action Network.

"The NCAA takes sports wagering very seriously and is committed to the protection of student-athlete's well being and the integrity of competition," the NCAA said in a statement. "We are aware of this issue and are actively gathering additional information."

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