Illegal Betting Under Organiser Scrutiny
Representatives of the gambling and betting industry have convened in London with regards to the upcoming London Olympics and issues surrounding the impact that illegal gambling will have on the game and methods that can be used to prevent such problems from occurring. In recent discussions leading up to the Olympic Games, many have touted that they believe illegal gambling acts to be a bigger concern than the doping.
Meetings to discuss the matter were reported earlier in the month, citing that they would be held in London, to address growing concerns over the integrity of the games. The discussion would include a varied range of measures to tackle the threats of illegal gambling as well as drop-in zones to offer advice to the athletes participating in the games and staying in the Olympic Village during the participation.
In attendance were a number of major sports betting firms including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Department for Culture, Media and Sport and also the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.
The true threat that corruption has over the upcoming games was enlightened during last year when three Pakistani cricketers were jailed after being found guilty of bribery and match fixing. These events occurred during a test match that took place between England and Pakistan in London of 2010.
When sport is corrupted, and betting used to profit from that corruption, it impacts sport and the legitimate betting industry alike. Punters always want to know they’re getting a fair bet on their chosen sport,” Ladbrokes Business Director Mike O’Kane stated in events leading up to the meeting, which he chaired.
Unregulated markets are also to blame, which is mainly focussed on the unregulated betting industry within Asia which is having a massive effect and externality of other countries.
“Although the real risk lies within illegal betting markets, the regulated industry still has a role to play in assisting the authorities to understand and combat this problem,” said O’Kane, also a head bookmaker at the European Sports Security Association.
O’Kane also commented that regulated betting was already trumping suspicious behave by utilising effective systems to fight back against scandal.
In an effort to extend support to the IOC, British company Betfair has openly agreed to divulge and share information to the IOC during the games in an effort to prevent any form of corruption and maintain the integrity of the Olympic Games and the betting industry. Betfair currently operates the world’s largest betting exchange.
The IOC will be setting up dedicated areas within the Olympic Village that will help to raise awareness of illegal and irregular betting in sport to ensure that all participants know what to look for. It will operate under the name “the IOC and me” as well as another initiative called “Betting risk and me” which will inform participants of the negative repercussions that illegal betting can have on them.
Source: Special Broadcasting Service