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Match-fixing and spot-fixing gambling impacting various sports


Match-fixing and spot-fixing are illegal activities that are threatening the integrity of various sports, including soccer and cricket.

Spot-fixing is interfering with the behavior of players during a game, while match-fixing is interfering with the outcome of the game. The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) thinks that approximately 80% of illegal betting falls into these categories.

Most betting is done on games in various European soccer competitions and mostly not on fixtures in the highest league of that country. Although the bets are placed on matches in Europe, the majority of these bets originate in Asia and you can bet on almost anything, from which team has the first free kick to who wins the toss or scores the first goal.

Sports Betting Industry

According to researchers of the ICSS, the global sports betting industry is worth around 275 to 700 billion US dollars, which equals 200 to 500 billion euros. They think that around 80% of this betting is illegal.

Since the sports betting industry is big, covering international markets in various continents and moreover, is badly regulated, it is no surprise that it attracts criminals that are trying to influence games in various sports.  Especially players from lower leagues with a significantly lower salary than superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are more open to criminals and are willing, for a certain fee, to influence a match, for instance by receiving a deliberate yellow card, or by causing a penalty.

Recent examples in European soccer include a match-fixing scandal in Finland in 2011, German referee Robert Hoyzer influencing matches in cooperation with Croatian criminals in 2005, while during that same year, the Belgian Zheyoung Ye – scandal was brought to light. Europol investigated matches in the 2012 – 2013 soccer season in the various European leagues and suspected there were illegal activities happening in 380(!) matches.

However, it is wrong to think that match-fixing and spot-fixing is something of the past few years. It is well known that athletes have been bribed during the ancient Olympic Games, while in the United States, the 1919 Black Sox scandal is a very famous example of match-fixing in baseball.

The International Centre for Sport Security thinks that soccer and cricket are the most frequent targets of match-fixing and spot-fixing, but ICSS also discovered match-fixing in badminton, snooker and table-tennis.

International cooperation

Since illegal betting and criminal activities in sports are transnational, it is necessary that countries from all over the world work together. Various nations are fighting match-fixing and spot-fixing individually, but in order to clean up sports, it is necessary that these countries work together to fight the well-organized criminal illegal betting-organizations.

(Sources: Economist, Wiki)

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