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Gambling regulators to watch for Olympics cheating

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 8:06 p.m. CST

LAS VEGAS — Olympics officials have asked Nevada gambling regulators to help watch for cheating at the Winter Games in Sochi.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced Wednesday that it was partnering with the International Olympic Committee to help prevent match fixing and other kinds of manipulation.

Casinos are not allowed to take Olympic wagers in the gambling capital of the U.S., but regulators also monitor illegal and offshore sports books.

"There's no telling what we could find in our investigations," Enforcement Chief Karl Bennison said.

The state bans gambling on all amateur games except for college sports.

The board already works with prominent organizations including Major League Baseball and the NFL. This is the first year it will partner with the Olympics.

State investigators look for irregular betting patterns, or, more often, are alerted to them by bookies.

"We might be contacted by a casino, and they might say we have unusual or awkward activity on the betting," Bennison said. "For example, people could be betting one way on the game, and all of a sudden a lot of money comes in on a different side."

The board played a role in bringing down a point-shaving scheme at Arizona State University in the 1990s. In that case, two ASU basketball players took bribes to throw the point spread of four games. Las Vegas casinos noticed that people involved with the scam were placing unusual, extremely rich bets, and alerted state regulators, who passed the tip to the FBI.

Bennison said Olympics officials reached out to regulators as a safeguard, not because either side expects dirty dealing at the upcoming games.

Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the collaboration was part of the organization's effort to support clean playing, which it has dubbed the "Integrity Betting Intelligence System."

"IBIS collates alerts and information on manipulation through betting on sport, and will also be placed at the disposal of International Federations during their major championships," he said in a statement.

The committee announced last month that is was setting up a $10 million fund to guard against match fixing and illegal betting.


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