News / USA

Worldwide Sports Betting Draws Big Bucks

Proposition bets (R) for Super Bowl XLV are posted at the race and sports book in the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 27, 2011
Proposition bets (R) for Super Bowl XLV are posted at the race and sports book in the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 27, 2011
Next month’s World Cup in Brazil will not only bring worldwide cheering.
 
It’s also bound to set off a global betting frenzy – one that now involves international sports of most every kind.
 
“Taking the illegal [gambling] market, the under-regulated grey market, and the totally legal market together, it’s really close to a trillion dollars [U.S.] annually gambled on sports today,” said Chris Eaton, director of sports integrity for from the International Center for Sport Security in Qatar and the Sorbonne in Paris.
 
Analysts say that a billion dollars was bet worldwide on the 2010 World Cup title match.

Watch video report:
 
New Report: Sports Gambling Is Conduit for Criminal Activityi
X
Jeffrey Young
May 23, 2014 7:38 PM
Gambling on sports events is global, and it’s massive. A new report on the size and impact of sports gambling notes how criminal elements are well entrenched, and using sports to launder money and carry on other illicit activities. VOA’s Jeffrey Young has details.

And, the 2014 playoffs are expected to generate a “handle” [total amount wagered] even higher than that.
 
Eaton said the betting action on just one football league alone – Britain’s Premiere League – comes to more than a billion dollars a year.
 
Huge quantities of money attract criminal elements.  So it is with sports wagering.
 
A Sports Security report says that sports betting is used worldwide by organized crime syndicates to launder some $140 billion a year.
 
It also says 80 percent of the total global sports wagering activity is illegal.
 
The rise of the Internet over the past 20 years has added even more gambling activity, according to the report, which says the web now handles 30 percent of the action.
 
Instead of having to seek out illegal bookmakers or go to legitimate betting shops, such as Britain’s Ladbrokes and William Hill, bettors only need a computer and a credit card. 
 
Britain, according to the study, has the greatest number of online gambling licenses – 114 operations. Malta was second, with 86.
 
Along with making wagering easy, the Internet has enabled criminal elements to set up global betting operations that siphon off and send profits to anonymous bank accounts in lax-regulated countries.
 
The report also says legal sports betting is only adding about $6 billion to national tax coffers globally, a tiny fraction of the total take.
 
The ICSS-Sorbonne report says Asia accounts for 53 percent of the world’s illegal gambling, largely because most East Asian countries do not allow legal wagering.
 
That’s why casinos in places such as Macao attract huge numbers of bettors from mainland China.
 
And, it turns out that illicit betting shops – “bookmakers” -  and legal betting houses are linked together in a form of “risk management” that is similar to what is done in the insurance industry, where big firms backstop the smaller ones.
 
“So, you’ve got dense networks of street bookmakers throughout countries like China and Vietnam,” said David Forrest, a gambling analyst at the University of Salford in Britain.
 
“And those small guys tend to take the stake [the money bet] and quickly pass it on up a chain so they don’t handle the risk themselves,” he said. “And at the top of this chain lie legal bookmakers, who are registered in the Philippines - the five biggest bookmakers in the world.”
 
The Philippines is an international wagering hub because the regulatory environment in that country is relatively weak.
 
Huge amounts of cash can move in and out without much difficulty, analysts say.
 
Illegal gambling has taken on some of the practices of Wall Street where hedge fund traders may take positions both for and against a particular stock or security to help ensure that they win regardless of the outcome. 
 
“Illegal bookmakers will collect their bets,” said University of South Florida sports betting analyst Richard Borghesi, “and if they wind up with a negative position on one side or the other, they will lay off [offset] their risk by betting on the opposite teams in the legalized gambling market.”
 
Borghesi said legal sports betting in Nevada and other locations has made such “hedging” relatively easy.
 
But skimming cash from “the handle” and other illicit activities are not the only fraud paths.
 
Analysts Forrest cites a scam that took place in January 2012 that created a fictitious match between Turkmenistan and the Maldives.
 
The operators posted advertisements for the game to attract bettors, collected cash, and then created a phony “play-by-play broadcast” of the game so gamblers could follow the action.
 
The final score – Turkmenistan won by 3-2 – was an outcome designed to give the perpetrators the biggest possible take.
 
The ICSS-Sorbonne study says the sports gambling industry needs to develop international reporting and accountability systems much like those that have been established in recent decades in the global financial markets. 
 
“We need the same sort of cooperative model operating in the gambling side and the bookmaking side of international sports,” said the ICSS’ Eaton. “So we can see exactly who was transacting what – and how – so you can pick [identify] the anomalies.”

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid