The year is 1919.
The Chicago White Sox are facing off against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The Reds lead the series 4-3 coming into game eight, and if they win this one they clinch the title.
Over 30,000 fans pile into the stadium to see what will happen, but little do they know: the game is over before it even starts.
Before the World Series, many White Sox players had agreed to throw the Series in exchange for money. The scandal was spearheaded by a crime and gambling syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein, and the rest is history.
Fast forward almost 100 years later, and we are still dealing with the same issues.
In 2018, a basketball game between St. John’s University and Wagner University was found to be fixed after a Wagner graduate offered players money to throw the game. The lifelong conman offered Wagner athletes upwards of $7500 to make sure they lost the game by more than 17 points.
Don’t worry, the brain behind the scheme was caught on a wiretap discussing his plan. He eventually pled guilty in 2020 to attempted sports bribery.
So, almost a century later and the same problems exist. Luckily, there’s a group of students at the University of New Haven determined to end this problem.
The Sports Integrity Program at UNH
It’s a pretty good idea, no?
As sports betting in CT continues to grow and spread across the country, it only makes sense that we take further measures to ensure its integrity.
Declan Hill, the head of the Sports Integrity Program at UNH, knows his way around the block when it comes to match-fixing. He is a former investigative reporter and an expert on match-fixing and corruption in sports.
Hill wrote the book “The Fix: Organized Crime and Soccer,” and has even delved into the Russian mafia’s involvement in the NHL.
He quickly recognized the dangers of neglectful sports policing, saying:
“There are lots of jobs in this industry and I think it’s one of those things that America is coming really late to a tsunami of corruption and match-fixing, which has hit sports around the world.”
Hill has even invited some of the most infamous match-fixers to speak in his class. This includes Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee that got caught up in a game-fixing scandal in the late 2000s.
As per the UNH website, the courses offered are as follows:
- Introduction to U.S. Sports Betting Law & Regulation
- Safeguarding Sport Integrity & Advanced Integrity Monitoring
- Advanced Regulation of Sports Betting
- Sports Betting Operations, Partnerships, Business & Legal
- Global Regulation of Sports Betting
In addition to completing these courses, students must create their sportsbooks. This grants them important insight and knowledge as to how lines move live in a game.
Matthew Lind, a UNH graduate who had completed the program, said the program taught them “to look at how the odds are moving and how the match itself is going.” If they don’t like what they see, they’re told to “flag it, and investigate.”
Upon completion of the five-course program, the UNH awards graduates a professional certificate – the first of its kind. The idea for the certificate comes from Daniel Wallach, who is one of the most established gaming attorneys in the US.
Wallach is the co-founding director of the program and has a deep-rooted history in the sports betting world. He sees the program as an opportunity to “provide participants with the tools for understanding how the legal and integrity issues intersect.”
The program was first offered in 2019 and remains to be one of the more popular sports programs at UNH. The program is 100% online, and all you need to join it is a BA from an accredited institution.
As more and more states legalize sports gambling, the importance of programs like this becomes more evident. Declan Hill says the current state-to-state regulations on sports betting offer an “open invitation for money laundering.”
However, UNH remains one step in front of the rest with its innovative course offerings that will impact the future of gambling in CT and across the county.