How Should Sportsbooks Handle Accusations Of Cheating?

Sportsbooks are facing an important decision on how to deal with events that involve cheating. [Image:]

Sportsbooks dealing with cheating The incomprehensible growth of sports betting in America uncovered another crack in the industry, which is how sportsbooks are supposed to deal with instances of cheating and illegal interference.

could prove to be a landmark case

Ryan Garcia’s positive test for Ostarine, a performance-enhancing substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, could prove to be a landmark case in that regard. Garcia, who entered his fight against Devin Haney as a massive underdog, won himself $12m and bettors across the country a solid haul with his surprise victory.

Now that Garcia was found guilty of cheating, however, it’s time for sportsbooks to come to a decision on how they can retroactively regulate verified events, if at all.

The Ryan Garcia mess For context, Garcia was a +600 underdog before the fight at most major sportsbooks.

He failed to meet the agreed-upon 140-pound weight limit by three pounds and was already unable to claim Haney’s WBC super lightweight title, though Haney could have been forced to vacate the title (which he ultimately wasn’t, despite precedent).

Here’s the short of it. If Garcia entered the ring wearing a sign that said: “I used performance-enhancing substances,” then sportsbooks would have pulled betting lines and likely voided all bets. Because news of Garcia’s failed drug test came a week and a half after he and haney took to the ring in Madison Square Garden, however, sportsbooks could not remain on top of the situation.

They also lacked the theoretical power to withdraw whatever winnings were accumulated during the fight from their customers’ accounts.

needing to pay just to reaccess the app?

What if a user already withdrew the money they won and didn’t have enough to cover the outstanding balance? Would their account fall into the negative and leave them needing to pay just to regain access the app? Would they be banned from placing future bets? Both seem highly unlikely.

On the flip side, would sportsbooks really dig into the results from a variety of markets (moneyline, method of victory, over/under rounds, etc.) to pay a large amount of bettors their winnings that were initially graded as losses after Garcia was found guilty of cheating?

Is a decision still to come? Six years ago, sports betting was illegal everywhere outside of Nevada. Today it’s responsible for more than $225bn in wagers in 38 states and Washington, D.C. The industry’s proliferation led to several instances in which it grew faster than its theoretical and regulatory framework, this being the latest example.

Sportsbooks did not offer refunds or take action after Gracia was found guilty of cheating before the bout, and that still has not changed.

Garcia and Haney’s records are exactly what they were when they exited the ring

It’s important to note that the fight decision still has not been ruled out—that is, both Garcia and Haney’s records are exactly what they were when they exited the ring. Garcia also vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the fight, the build-up to which was headlined by his erratic behavior and alleged use of alcohol and illicit drugs (which he also denied).

“Everybody knows that I don’t cheat,” Garcia said in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter). “Never taken a steroid. … I don’t even know where to get steroids. … I beat his ass.”


“We learned about this situation not too long ago, and it’s unfortunate Ryan cheated and disrespected both the fans and the sport of boxing by fighting dirty and breaking positive not once, but twice,” Haney said in a statement to ESPN. “This puts the fight in a completely different light. Despite the disadvantage, I still fought on my shield and got back up! People die in this sport. This isn’t a joking matter.”