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SBD Global/May 16, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Report Claims Crime Gangs Launder $140 Billion Through Illegal Sports Betting

An Int'l Centre for Sport Security report released Thursday said that criminals "are using betting on sports events to launder" $140B each year, according to Pretot & Weir of REUTERS. The report exposes "a lack of effective regulation that allows match-fixing to spread." The ICSS' Chris Eaton said, "The rapid evolution of the global sports betting market has seen an increased risk of infiltration by organized crime and money laundering." The report, compiled by the ICSS think-tank and the Sorbonne university in Paris, said that 80% of global sports betting "was being carried out on illegal markets, placing it beyond the reach of regulators and investigators." According to the report, 53% of the illegal betting comes from Asia, while 49% of the legal market is based in Europe (REUTERS, 5/15). In London, Roger Blitz reported the report highlighted "poor co-operation" between stakeholders at national and int'l levels. It also said that measures to prevent sports betting fraud and educate professional sportsmen and women "have only recently been launched." Sports betting regulations "needed enhanced powers, such as cross-border agreements to draw up a blacklist of illegal operators, coupled with the ability to block payments and withdraw licences from betting operators." The authors also "called for a sports betting tax to fund match-fixing investigations" (FT, 5/15). The BBC's Richard Conway reported between £160B and £400B ($268B-$461B), about 2% of global gross domestic product, "is wagered on sport each year." Eaton: "The transformation of the nature of betting, with more complex types of betting, such as live betting -- which according to this study is the most vulnerable -- has made suspect activity even harder to detect" (BBC, 5/15). In Melbourne, Jacquelin Magnay noted cricket and football "are named as the two sports most vulnerable." Report contributor Stuart Page said that sport "was integral to the fabric of Australian society and the Australian government was in a perfect position to take the lead and encourage its Asian neighbours to form a regional inter­governmental approach to combat the problem." Page: "Australia can take the lead ­especially through its links in the region through ASEAN and APEC" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/16). While the researchers estimated there are about 8,000 legal operators mainly operating in offshore low tax zones, they said it was “impossible” to say how many illegal gambling operations exist (London TELEGRAPH, 5/15).

FIGHTING FRAUD: In a separate piece, Pretot wrote betting fraud, not match fixing, "should be the main target for those fighting for cleaner sport and there must be a global crusade." While China "has started to tackle the problem, other countries in Asia have yet to fight betting fraud." Eaton: "China, India, United States, France have a very good lead in this but this is not matched by the Philippines, not matched in other parts of South East Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, where there is massive betting but all ... underground." Betting fraud also infiltrates the European and South American markets. Eaton said, "The matches that are being fixed are mostly in Europe or Central America, South America because they are the ones that are the most gambled on" (REUTERS, 5/15).
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