A Las Vegas-based sportsbook is asking the National Football League (NFL) to investigate if significant bets placed using insider information regarding the un-retirement of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay believes that a bettor placed a large bet for the Buccaneers to win their conference championship at 30-1 odds and the Super Bowl at 60-1.
Four days later Brady announced he was not retiring (see timeline below) and was indeed returning to the Bucs next season. Tampa Bay’s odds to win the Super Bowl were dropped to 25-1, and the same bettor bet on the Bucs again.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that they knew he was coming back when they placed those wagers on Thursday,” Kornegay said. “And these were not casual bettors.”
The Las Vegas Review also reported at least two other sportsbook had the same experience. On the same days the South Point sports book had a similar experience, with the sportsbook’s Director, Chris Andrews, said someone bet “big money” on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl at 50-1, at 30-1 then at 25-1.
The NFL issued a “no comment” to the Review-Journal but will have to address the issue – this is the first time a major sports book is openly accusing someone of securing and acting on insider information.
While no investigation has yet to be authorized, any ruling is likely to come down to the law’s interpretation of insider information. In the days leading up to Brady’s announcement, there were rumors circulating he could reverse his retirement decision.
Jay Rood, senior vice president of risk and trading for Bally’s Interactive, said bookmakers should pay very close attention to this situation if information was leaked as a tactic to compromise sportsbooks.
“It’s a crime to do this in the stock market, but I don’t know if we’re at that level yet with this,” he said. “It’s not exactly buying Apple stock knowing that Apple’s soon going to release a watch that’s going to change the industry. But it is an exploitation of information that isn’t public knowledge that could allow for financial gain. Even though the Bucs still have to go out there and win, this was still … a manipulation. And for now, it’s the price of doing business.”
Brady also admitted to Fox Sports that 30 minutes before he announced his un-retirement, he told two of his teammates; receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as his social media company Shadow Lions. Both Evans and Godwin said they were both caught completely off guard by the text from Brady.
“Me and Mike were so gassed up, like, ‘Yo, what are you talking about? You just retired?!” Godwin said to ESPN.
On 29 Jan., the day before ESPN reported Brady’s retirement, the Bucs odds to win the Super Bowl were at 9-1.
Three days later, on 1 Feb. after Brady officially announced his retirement, the Bucs odds jumped to 50-1.
Then, three days later, on 4 Feb., a sharp bettor wagered “big money” on the Bucs to win the Super Bowl at 60-1 and to win the NFC at 30-1. The odds were then lowered to 25-1 and the same gambler placed another large bet on the allegedly Brady-less Bucs.
On 6 Feb., a Sunday, the Bucs were at 14-1 before Brady announced he was unretiring and the odds were lowered to 10-1, behind the Buffalo Bills (7-1), Green Bay Packers (8-1) and Kansas City Chiefs (9-1).