Irish Second-Tier Matches Draw €650,000 In Bets Globally, Inquiry Hears
First Division matches in the League of Ireland are attracting up to €650,000 ($776,815) "in bets on global exchanges," an inquiry into alleged match-fixing has been told, according to Mark Tighe of the SUNDAY TIMES. While First Division games attract average crowds of less than 500, they are "attracting huge interest from overseas gamblers, mainly in Asia." Details of the "vast sums being wagered" on second-tier Irish football were revealed at the FA of Ireland’s internal disciplinary hearing into two Athlone Town players who have been banned for 12 months for match fixing. Games in the Premier Division and First Division of the league are being streamed on int'l betting websites following a '15 deal between the FAI and Trackchamp. The four-year contract is said to be worth €120,000 ($143,412) a year. The Irish Premier Division attracts an average of €2.5M ($3M) in bets per match, "while the average attendance was just under 1,500 per game last season." By contrast, a Premier League match in England attracts an average of €203M ($243M) in wagers, while a Pro14 rugby game attracts €1.2M ($1.4M). A Gaelic Athletic Association match would draw just €50,000 ($59,755) "in bets globally per game because of low understanding of the rules." Evidence about betting on Irish league games "was given to the disciplinary hearing by Sportradar." Sportradar Communications Dir Alex Inglot said, "It stands to reason that if you start offering streams and coverage on a global level, where it wasn’t global before, then you will see more engagement in that sport, and that will be heavily tied to interests in betting. If you have a stream to view a sport, you feel more engaged in it and more likely to bet" (SUNDAY TIMES, 9/24).