It’s fair to say that sports betting is as popular as it’s ever been and with today’s technology, it’s often just a click away. It’s never been easier and the world of sports has opened up completely, making it possible to pretty much place bets at any time from anywhere.
24/7 Sport Coverage From Around the World
If you want to bet on a cricket match in India, a football match in Brazil, a chess game in Romania, cross-country skiing in Norway or how about a rugby match in Australia, you will have no problem doing so.
Because of the different time zones around the world, there is always a sporting event taking place that you can bet on, regardless of the location you happen to be in.
Cheating the System
Today a lot of the betting is done via apps on your phone and with the amount of money being involved, you can count on people trying their best to take advantage of it. By taking advantage of it I mean cheat the system.
As the headline reads, match fixing is nothing new. We all know it exists and if you think it only happens in certain corners of the world, think again. It happens everywhere.
Are Some Sports Untouchable?
There are certain sports that are more prone to be exposed for being fixed than others but the truth is that these days, there are more of them. Even sports that you thought were untouchable have shown to slip up from time to time.
Snooker is a close relative to pool or billiards and was always known for having shady types hustling each other in local dive bars. Today, snooker is a huge sport that is even knocking on the door to become an Olympic event as early as next year.
At the moment, as many as 10 elite Chinese players are being investigated for throwing games in order to help someone win a massive bet.
Even sports like cricket, volleyball and handball have been in the news over the last couple of years.
Tennis and Football
Even a “gentleman sport” like tennis has been known to have a lot of cases of match fixing. The truth is that it is one of the most popular sports for fixed outcomes. Even players like Novak Djokovic have come out and publicly said that fixers tried to approach him in the past but were unsuccessful.
What makes tennis such a target is the fact that it only takes one player to throw a match. With bigger team sports, you would need to pay off a lot more players in order to have an effect on the game.
Despite what I just said, another very popular match fixing sport is football. As an example, in 2018, Albania’s leading soccer team was banned from competition for a decade after being accused of intentionally losing games they were favored to win. The entire team.
No matter how crazy this example seems, it is far from an isolated occurrence. According to data, football has the highest frequency of suspicious matches at a rate of 1 in every 201 fixtures.
Big Salaries Makes it More Difficult
With the betting industry opening up and increasing the amount of sports and leagues that are available to punters, pressure is being put on lower league players with a bigger incentive to accept bribes.
It’s very difficult to be able to affect the biggest leagues because of the amount of money the players make. Lebron James for example makes around $44.5 million per season from the Los Angeles Lakers. On top of that he has a lot of other endorsements.
With a salary like that, there’s no reason for him to throw a game if someone offers him $5 million.
Lower Level Leagues Are Easier Targets
However, let’s say there’s a 28-year old football player that is the goaltender in Division 3 in Brazil. His salary isn’t anywhere close to Lebron’s and perhaps he has a big family to take care of etc.
Knowing he most likely will not make it to one of the big leagues and earn the big bucks, he is most likely more open to accept a payment of €50,000 to let a few easy goals in during his next game.
If someone were to pay him off and bet A LOT OF MONEY on the team to lose, he would be able to win BIG!
It’s Where the Money Is
Once again, match fixing exists because gambling exists. It’s the same concept as insider trading exists because the stock market exists. Why? Because it’s where the money is.
Players Cheat and Punters Cheat
Remember the Ben Johnson scandal in the 1988 Olympics? How about Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France? These are only a couple of very well known examples where the athletes have cheated but were caught and banned for doping.
If the athletes are trying their best to cheat the system to win, what makes you think punters are any different? Instead of sticking needles in their bodies, filled with illegal substances, their version is to pay off players.
More Than Just Winners and Losers
Another reason to approach players to pay them off is the fact that people no longer bet on winners or losers alone. Instead, you can bet on yellow cards, set losses, bogus penalties etc.
This makes fixing harder to detect as it doesn’t necessarily have a massive effect on the outcome of a game.
Hunting Down Fixers Worldwide
One of the companies that are working hard to hunt down match fixers across the world is Sportradar AG in Switzerland.
Andreas Krannich works at Sportradar and oversees a team of former intelligence operatives, police detectives, journalists and computer geeks tracking 500,000 sporting matches a year.
Krannich said in a recent interview that it’s inevitable that match fixing will proliferate in the US as more states legalize sports betting, mirroring what has already happened elsewhere.
Sportradar AG identified 903 suspicious matches across 10 sports in 76 countries in 2021, and according to Krannich that is just the tip of the iceberg.
“This is part of the globalization and digitalization of our world,” Krannich said. “We are living now in a digital environment where there are no limitations anymore.”
Not Just Bribes
Before you judge the players getting paid off, you should be aware of the situation. It may sound easy to say no to the money if you’re a player and you are being approached but understandably it isn’t always so.
Money isn’t always the only approach either as there are many cases where a player, coach or referee has turned down the money. Instead, the lives of their family members are being threatened unless the player agrees to their demands, putting everything in perspective.
$177 Million In Profits
Gamblers and criminals have been trying to rig games elsewhere since the Olympics began in ancient Greece. Today, match-fixing threats reach so many different sports and levels.
There is no doubt a lot of money involved in these scams. As a matter of fact,
Sportradar conservatively estimates that match-fixers hauled in profits of about $177 million in 2021.
It’s not my intention to steer you away from sports betting, not at all. Match fixing is unfortunately a part of the sporting world and it’s a good thing to be aware of. However, there are plenty of solid betting action to dive into at many of my favorite hot spots.
If you haven’t visited Stake.com, Sportsbet.io, Cloudbet, FortuneJack or Bc.Game for example, you should check them out. It’s crypto betting at its finest!