News 17th July 2015

Study finds no link between certain bets and match-fixing

A study produced by the Asser Institute of Sports Law for the German Olympic committee (DOSB) has failed to find any evidence that certain types of bet – such as in-play betting or spot betting – are more susceptible to potential manipulation by match-fixers. “Based on the qualitative empirical evidence, this study has been unable to find any correlation between in-play bets or spot bets and the possibility of betting related match-fixing”, said the report’s author, Professor Ben van Rompuy in a statement issued today.

The study sought to examine not only the supply side of match-fixing, but also the demand side – i.e. the extent to which a game can be manipulated, and the extent to which criminal organisation actually abuse certain games and bets. It found that criminals prioritise minimisation of risk of detection, and a big factor in this is the liquidity of the betting market. It found that criminals seek markets with high liquidity and low transparency – such as the illegal betting markets – rather than regulated European markets, where transparency is high and liquidity low.

Mathias Dahms, President of the German Betting Association (DSWV), warned that if legislators decided to restrict certain types of bet without evidence that they are conducive to match-fixing, they risk bolstering the illegal market. “Meaningful action must start where there are meaningful dangers”, he said in the statement. “With improper restrictions on in-play and spot betting only state-licensed operators are restricted, while the black market booms”.

The Asser-DOSB report follows a 700-page report produced under the ICSS-Sarbonnne Integrity Programme in May last year, which found that the more complex the bet, the more susceptible it is to manipulation. This report also found that licensed, regulated European operators sometimes turn a blind eye to money being laundered through their markets.

“We have a practical chapter describing how match-fixing happens”, the report’s author, Laurent Vidal, told the International Centre for Sport Security’s (ICSS) Journal. “We carry out a risk assessment in terms of how dangerous different types of bets are in creating conditions in which match-fixing can be carried out. It is very interesting to explain and look at the different formulas used to carry out these bets. Generally, the more complex the bet is, the more dangerous it is.”

“Betting operators are always explaining that it doesn’t benefit them to have a conflict of interest, however the truth is more complex than that”, continued Vidal. “For example, some betting operators are sometimes aware that money laundering is taking place. A betting operator told me that he has some clients who are placing large bets every day. They believe that these people are laundering money, but they want to keep their client. They turn a blind eye.”

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