Illegal Betting- The Next Big Olympics Security Issue

Without a doubt, the betting markets during the Olympics are vast. Work has been underway for a couple of years to address the integrity of wagers that are made on the Olympic sports throughout the years. Among the paradoxes of this work is that a multitude of athletes in the gameplay options, including those found in NetEnt Casinos have received funding that stems from national lotteries. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) developed a Working Group on the Irregular alongside Illegal Betting in Sport. Some months later in November, this Group suggested the creation of a ubiquitous code of conduct that would be the constant principle for the various sports.

The Founding Working Group called for the creation of a monitoring system for the Olympic Movement that would be availed to a plethora of International Federations during the major tournaments for the sharing of information concerning suspicious gambling activity. Additionally, the FWG reached out to a profusion of national sports betting bodies for the strengthening of partnerships among themselves, not to mention sports firms alongside gambling operators.

According to the president of the International Olympic Committee, the illegal as well irregular gambling poses a threat to the sports foundations and the efforts to combat the attacks require the dedication from an array of essential partners, more so governments.

Establishing a common monitoring system for sports is still under discussion by the Olympic Movement. However, the work that the Founding Working Group is undertaking has successfully paved the way forward since the initial meeting back in 2011.

A mélange of sports representatives and gambling operators from across the globe were in attendance at the meeting in Lausanne. The Founding Working Group called on sports firms globally to utilize the existent measures and tools for raising awareness of the issues in addition to the risks and ethical regulations involved. Furthermore, it is advised that national authorities develop educational programs whose goal is to inform stakeholders of the dangers of fixing matches as well as other activities whose goal is the manipulation of sports events.

Concerning legislation, the Founding Working Group urged sports organizations alongside governments to implement the rules which are designed for the combating of illegal and irregular wagering on all levels. States which are yet to do so ought to pass the necessary legislation, a process which should be geared by the convention against manipulating sports tournaments, is currently undergoing drafting by the European Council and has full support by the FWG.

UK Betting

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) indicated that the industries which the commission regulates generate a gross gambling profit of £5.5 billion which accounts for 0.6% of the domestic gross product of the nation. The UKGC spent a total of £600,000 to investigate the integrity of sports wagering in 2016 and an additional £388,000 on intelligence services.

As per the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), Australians spent approximately $19 billion on betting, from which $2.8 billion was gambled on sports, with racing taking up 94% of the amount.

Worldwide Markets

While the size of unregulated worldwide markets differs, the consensus is that they are vast. Independent wagering professional Patrick Jay argues that the majority of illegal betting takes place in East Asia where sports betting (including the Olympics) is mostly illegal regardless of the vast demand.

Over 4000 people across the globe were arrested and more than $13 million was seized throughout Asia by police who were targeting illegal wagering during Euro 2016. Therefore, it is not far-fetched that a similar betting crackdown is expected to occur during the Olympics.

The exceptional liquidity combined with full unaccountability of the array of unregulated markets causes anxiety concerning the chance of fixing matches anytime a major sporting event occurs. The risk at the Olympics is regarded to be fairly low since illegal betting syndicates have the preference of avoiding suspicion and targeting games do not undergo scrutiny by global TV viewers. Instead, it is usually lower level tennis as well as soccer.

The scandal which encompassed women’s badminton at the London Olympics where 8 participants from 4 teams that included two world champions from China were disqualified from the games for trying to lose intentionally was not regarded as a sports gambling scam. However, it appears that the top Chinese team made an attempt of throwing a match for tactical purposes, for the avoidance of competing against the Chinese team which was in second place. The opponents then attempted the subversion of the Chinese plan through partaking in astronomically poor gameplay, while the audience expressed severe disapproval.

However, as the scandals have affected the professional tennis world, there is usually the possibility that match-fixing may take place, with all eyes being on the tennis players, specifically.

Last but not least, the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) recently unveiled that a staggering 84% of all illegal betting is usually involved with Tennis.

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