Friday, October 28, 2011

Throwing The Game

“Taking a fall," “Throwing a game,” “Fixing,” “Fraud,” whatever one calls it the manipulation of the outcome of sporting events is big business. Last year 15 men were arrested in Germany as suspects in the fixing of football (soccer) games in 15 different European countries. The men arrested in Germany are Croatians but other arrests of multiple suspects have occurred in Turkey, Bosnia, Switzerland, England, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines. 
The problem is so severe that there is a company in London, Sport Radar, that is dedicated to uncovering sports fraud. They monitor betting on football (soccer) matches and look for unusual patterns in the odds making.

These patterns reveal when a game is likely to be fixed. Annually, one percent of some 30,000 top-tier team matches are fixed. Match fixing is a serious problem because it undermines the credibility of the afflicted sport for fans. Also companies that sponsor sporting events don't want their products associated with corruption.

Prior to the digital revolution gambling activity around the world was either local, national or regional. Now all gambling markets share some degree of connectivity. In the past five years sports-book gambling has become globalized.

For instance, large amounts of Asian bets are placed on matches within small leagues in obscure places such as Iceland. Before the 1990's small league competitions were relatively immune to fixing. Today the potential for fixing lower tier events is facilitated by their lack of safeguards against such activity.
Prohibiting sports book wagering is not going to eliminate game fixing. And, although gambling is widely recognized as an activity that can become addictive, gambling is here to stay. For gamblers with certain personality disorders their self abusing behavior is life threatening in extreme cases. In these times of fragile economies and global recession increasing numbers of individuals are tempted to gamble. It's not difficult to understand how widespread desperation can be stimulated by economic hard-times. A typical desperate response to this contemporary scenario is gambling. In truth, game fixing and gambling have a long standing relationship reaching back for millenia. There will always be a distinct minority of humans who will control the majority of the earth's wealth. There is no great leveler. No solution to the problem of game fixing is apparent. For those who continue to gamble on sports events this small piece of advice might be useful: "Let the bettor beware!".

1 comment:

  1. S. Walker Somewhere, IDSeptember 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Gentlemen, and I assume you are gentlemen, I have just stumbled across your blog. After reading several of your posts the one that stimulates the most interesting questions is entitled "Throwing The Game". The assertion that a significant number of top tier sports competitions are fixed, leads me to ask WHO ARE THE FIXERS? and HOW DO THEY DO IT? I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the way of answers to my questions. Your website is nicely done and I will be visiting regularly as long as you keep my interest stimulated.