Iowa may remove the Professional Fighters League (PFL) from state wager markets after a pre-taped event was flagged for suspicious betting activity.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is working with operators after the IRGC learned last week’s PFL Challenger Series event had pre-taped fights. Bettors who wagered on the April 1 event saw it billed as a live broadcast.
Las Vegas market-monitoring company U.S. Integrity alerted sportsbooks about the pre-taped PFL fights. The fights actually took place in late March.
Challenger Series broadcaster FuboTV tweeted before the broadcast: “Fighters are in the building for TONIGHT. The streaming service has a connection with sports betting in Iowa. Casino Queen Marquette has an agreement with Fubo Sportsbook.
Parent company fuboTV Inc. wants the sportsbook to make its mark by blending the sports wagering platform with Fubo’s live TV streaming experience. As part of the Watching Now concept, customers can view wagering content based on what they are streaming over fuboTV at the time.
But the events have to be live. Odds moved heavily in favor of the winning fighters prior to the April 1 broadcast.
The PFL has another Challenger Series card on Friday, April 8, but many sportsbooks around the county are not offering the card as a wager option. The PFL tweeted on Friday that the card is “Live and Free Tonight.”
In Iowa, BetMGM and PointsBet have temporarily pulled the market. The only other sportsbooks to not offer PFL to begin with are theScore Bet and BetRivers.
Iowa commission aware of pre-taped incident
IRGC Administrator Brian Ohorilko said the Iowa commission is aware of the incident. The commission and operators are checking to see if any wagers were accepted or if any unusual activity happened.
Ohorilko said the commission could scratch PFL from Iowa wagers in general.
“It is possible that the commission could rescind the market so that’s something we are taking a look at right now,” he said.
He added the probability of removing PFL is up in the air.
“I think a lot of it will depend on what we’re hearing back from operators,” he said. “I think we will probably make some decisions here in the next few days. If we have operators voluntarily removing the market, then that makes the decision pretty easy. If there is some demand, we will work with leagues and integrity partners to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
But looking at the impact in Iowa, PFL isn’t a popular market in the state, Ohorilko said.
“We haven’t concluded our investigation, but looking at the operators that do offer it, we have one book that took one bet in the amount of $10,” he said. “So the choice comes down to the integrity as well as market demand here.”
Ohorilko added the state has a layered approach when it comes to integrity monitoring and keeping the market safe.
“Those integrity partners are monitoring the wagering activity that is taking place and looking for betting patterns,” he said. “Another important part of that piece is the books themselves. Many times that is how something like this gets detected … I believe this situation was a mistake, an oversight or carelessness from leagues and books in communicating, but sometimes it’s more than a mistake.”
Other states looking to drop PFL
Iowa isn’t the only state investigating the issue and considering dropping PFL. The Arizona Department of Gaming has already decided to remove the PFL from wagers. The Colorado Division of Gaming is also investigating the situation. Nevada and New Hampshire are also looking into it among others.