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Corruption in Sports: Study shows that £80 billion laundered through sports betting

£80 billion laundered illegally through sports betting: Study

News 16 May 2014, 18:21 IST
Billions laundered through sports betting

Billions laundered through sports betting

A new study on corruption, organized crime and sports betting has revealed that close to £80 billion was laundered by organized crime gangs through illegal sports betting.

A study by the International Center for Sports Study based in Qatar has concluded after a 2 year study that over 80 percent of sports betting is carried out illegally beyond the reach of investigators and regulators. Football and cricket seem to be the worst affected with a number of football leagues being hit by match-fixing scandals in recent years and three Pakistani cricketers jailed for a plot to deliberately bowl no balls during a Test match against England at Lord’s in 2010. Tennis, basketball, badminton and motor racing are also being targeted.

The report said that all sports are under threat, but football and cricket are the most under threat. This comes days before a trial at Birmingham Crown Court following a Telegraph investigation into an alleged match-fixing scandal that could be English football’s biggest for decades.

Chris Easton, director of ICCS, said “The rapid evolution of the global sports betting market has seen an increased risk of infiltration by organised crime and money laundering. Alongside this, the transformation of the nature of betting, with more complex types of betting, such as live-betting, which according to this study is the most vulnerable, has made suspect activity even harder to detect.”

He also declared that current international instruments are insufficient are called for an international convention to help tackle illegal betting “It is clear that current international instruments are insufficient and there is a desperate need for well-designed criminal laws specific to the manipulation of sport. An international agreement on the manipulation of sport competition, coordinated by an overarching global platform, is now an urgent necessity”

Asia and Europe were said to represent 85 percent of the total legal and illegal market, with Asia accounting for 53 per cent of the illegal market. Researchers have estimated about 8,000 legal operators to be operating in offshore low tax zones and added that it would be “impossible” to say how many illegal gambling operations exist.

The report recommends the implementation of a sports betting tax that would help  finance investigations into match-fixing and propagate closer cooperation between betting companies and sporting bodies.

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