Vegas books, gaming commission: No signs of San Diego point shaving
Las Vegas sportsbooks continue to scratch their heads about the San Diego point shaving case.
The indictment alleges that two of the defendants, Paul Thweni and an unnamed individual, placed bets at Las Vegas casinos on a San Diego basketball game in February of 2010. Former San Diego player Brandon Johnson is accused of receiving a bribe and affecting the outcome of the game.
But none of the six Las Vegas sportsbooks Covers.com spoke with had found any irregular betting patterns on games involving San Diego during the month in question.
As of Wednesday, the enforcement division of the Nevada Gaming Commission has not been contacted the by federal authorities or any concerned sportsbook operators about the case.
“Usually, when one of the sportsbook sees something strange, they’ll contact us,” Deputy Chief David Salas of the gaming commission told Covers.com. “But we haven’t heard anything other than what we’re hearing from the press.”
Todd Fuhrman, a consultant for the sportsbook at Caesars, said it would be especially evident if someone had placed an unusually large wager on a game involving teams from smaller conferences like the West Coast. But Fuhrman said he didn’t see anything unusual at his book and had not heard of any other casino finding anything out of the ordinary.
“For that kind of game, if someone comes in and wants to bet two or three thousand, that’s not going to raise any red flags,” said Fuhrman. “But if you’re talking about guys trying to get down 20 to 30 thousand on a game like that, it would definitely be a cause for concern.”
Salas pointed out that a bettor could feasibly spread out his wager among several sportsbooks to avoid suspicion. And the indictment does state “placed bets at Las Vegas casinos.”
In contrast, the indictment indicates the suspects paid fees charged by only one “offshore Internet service.”
Offshore sportsbooks, due to legal issues, are hesitant to speak on matters of point shaving. Multiple offshore books did tell Covers.com off the record that they did not receive any unusual activity on games involving San Diego.
Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro says that even if the suspects were able to place a number of smaller bets at different sportsbooks in Las Vegas, the profit would still pale in comparison to the maximum $250,000 fine the defendants are facing.
“If those guys drove all the way over here to place a few $5,000 bets, with the price of gas these days, by the time they get home they only got a few thousand left,” Vaccaro said with a chuckle.
Eight of the 10 defendants named in the indictment pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier in the week.