Criminals are using betting on sports events to launder $140 billion (N 22.4 trillion) each year, a report said yesterday, exposing a lack of effective regulation which has allowed match-fixing to spread.
The report identified football and cricket as the sports most threatened by criminals seeking to rig the gambling market, but tennis, basketball, motor racing and badminton were also affected.
“The rapid evolution of the global sports betting market has seen an increased risk of infiltration by organised crime and money laundering,” said Chris Eaton of the Centre for Sports Security (ICSS) in Qatar.
The report, compiled by the ICSS and the Sorbonne in Paris, said 80 per cent of global sports betting were being carried out on illegal markets.
This has placed it beyond the reach of regulators and investigators.
A number of football leagues have been hit by match-fixing scandals in recent years.
Three Pakistani cricketers were jailed for a plot to deliberately bowl no balls during a test match against England at Lord’s in 2010.
Technology and live television have transformed the sports betting market in recent years, allowing viewers to bet on a wider range of events.
This has also allowed them to gamble in real time as a match progresses.
Eaton, a former head of security at FIFA, said the changes have made suspect betting patterns harder to spot.
Among solutions the report recommended are a sports betting tax to finance investigations into match-fixing, and closer co-operation between betting companies and sporting bodies. (Reuters/NAN)