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Study says betting fraud and corruption in sports growing

Criminals are betting on sports events and laundering $140 billion each year, a report written by a think-tank and Sorbonne University (Paris) said on Thursday, exposing a lack of effective regulation to keep such crimes from spreading.

Soccer and cricket were identified as the sports that criminals used most often to rig the gambling market. But tennis, basketball, motor racing and badminton were also becoming more infiltrated by money launderers, according to the report.

Even the sport of snooker (which is like billiards or pool but the balls have no numbers, just colors) has fallen prey to match-fixing.

“The rapid evolution of the global sports betting market has seen an increased risk of infiltration by organized crime and money laundering,” said Chris Eaton of the think-tank International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) that co-wrote the study.

The report, based on two years of research, said that 80 percent of global sports betting was being carried out on illegal markets, placing it beyond the reach of regulators and investigators.

A number of soccer leagues have been charged with match-fixing in recent years, and three Pakistani cricketers were jailed for planning to deliberately bowl no balls during a test match against England in 2010.

According to the report’s findings, 53% of the illegal betting comes out of Asia, while 49% of the legal market is based in Europe.

The study suggests that the main limitations of current measures are: 

  • a lack of cooperation between stakeholders on a national level,
  • insufficient cooperation on an international level,
  • relatively young and informal stakeholder relationships, and 
  • the lack of communication among and disparate response of sports federations.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.

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