USADA Eyes Sports Betting Integrity Role

The US Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, believes that it is the perfect group to monitor and even oversee the growing sports betting market in the United States. The group, which is recognized by Congress as the designated national-level testing platform for the majority of sports,  says that it has the know-how and technology to pinpoint unusual betting activity. It says that it will use the same flag markers used in its search for substance-abuse among athletes, including members of the US Olympic Athletics Team.

The suggestion that USADA acts as the hub for sports betting integrity efforts comes in a week that legislation governing sports betting was introduced formally on a federal level.  A bi-partisan effort to introduce the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 was made on Wednesday by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. The two proposed legislation where they want to see all betting data  from the US move through a central clearinghouse so as to avoid suspicious betting.

The chief executive officer of USADA, Travis Tygart has confirmed that the agency has held “high level conversations with several in the industry and folks on Capitol Hill,” although the agency is not named as the central clearinghouse in the proposed bill.

“If legalized sports gambling and potentially match-fixing situations continue to come to light, it would be important to have a regulatory body to put rules in place and hand down any sanctions necessary,” he added.

Tygart said that it is “in the gaming market’s interest as well as clean athletes’ to have a fair, honest playing field.”

“If someone has an unknown advantage through doping, the gaming industry suffers from an inability to equitably set the odds,” he added.

The USADA head said that cooperative relationships need to take priority in order for “clean athletes and a corrupt-free gaming market to prevail.”

Analysts recognize the potentially blurred lines between doping and sports betting and believe that a national entity for integrity would be the most comprehensive and effective system to protect the integrity of sports in the US.


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