Might this be a sign of things to come?
Lifting the federal ban on sports betting in the United States comes with concerns about match fixing. It is clearly an issue in Europe where this week at Wimbledon, a first-round men’s doubles match was flagged for suspicious activity.
The match in question at this year’s tournament drew attention after a late shift in odds.
Due to legal reasons, the match has not been identified, but international bookmaker Pinnacle Sports told Australian Broadcasting Corp. the match was “flagged as suspicious due to irregular betting patterns.” Eagle-eyed investigators found a series of wagers were made just before the match started from accounts with a history of betting on suspicious matches. The late surge in bets altered the odds of the match and officials pounced.
"We would anticipate some minor odds movement in any tennis match, but the odds movement … just under an hour before it was due to start is certainly out of the ordinary,” Pinnacle Sports integrity manager Sam Gomersall told ABC News. "We followed our strict protocol when it comes [to] match-fixing alerts by notifying the authorities on site at Wimbledon and reducing our market offering immediately."
Tennis is no stranger to betting scandals. Last year, at least three lower-level Wimbledon matches were investigated by the Tennis Integrity Unit, a London-based corruption watchdog. Here in the United States, sports betting critics have raised concerns about open gambling impacting the integrity of sporting events.
See more from the tournament so far:
In Europe, where it is already legal to bet on sports, these scandals are clearly an issue.
Sportradar is a company that specializes in monitoring the integrity of sports gambling platforms and has already partnered with the NFL, NBA and NHL. The company will likely be called on to help guard American sports from scandal, too.
“Our experience shows us there is no sport around the globe that is immune against being manipulated,” Sportradar Deputy President Dr. Laila Mintas told the Daily News. “There have been scandals all over the world already.”