Integrity in sport update: US predicted to illegally wager $93bn on American Football in 2015

Weekly media recap 6-13 September 2015 published on 15 September 2015

In this week's media recap, there is a number of articles on illegal sports betting and police successes, such as the arrest of a celebrity that was arrested for illegal gambling. She operated from her apartment and according to prosecutors the bets were high amounts in the millions. A further article elaborates on the United States of America's $133.5 billion illegal betting operations run by organised criminal networks, that is generating lots of debate in some States as an enormous tax potential.

There is also good news stories such as Liberia, that has trained all their referees against match-fixing and from Qatar that will be the venue for the first technical meeting on match-fixing in sport hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) together with the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS).   

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Liberia

The Chairman Referees Standing committee of the Liberia Referee Association, Meson Goe, has warned referees in the country against match-fixing in the game of football. Mr. Goe admonished Liberian referees to report match-fixing because it is a crime, further emphasizing the availability of facts to authenticate its criminal nature. Speaking at the close of the week-long international referee training Course in Monrovia, the veteran Liberian referee noted that if a country must have a good referee in every football league, the game must be played with openness, other than discouraging lovers of the game through match-fixing in favor of another team. He recommended the involvement of state security in issues of match-fixing because they are law enforcers, expressing the belief that such involvement would reduce the rate of match-fixing. Mason Goe described referees as key players in the game of football, adding that if the game must be a good one, let the laws of the game make them know what they are doing on the field of play. He urged referees, sport lovers and team officials to exercise openness for the game as the game entails fair play.

Source: Sally Gaye, "Do Away with Match Fixing", 8 September 2015, The New Dawn, https://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/sports/8364-do-away-with-match-fixing

Qatar

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) will host the first technical meeting on match-fixing in sport on Wednesday and Thursday in Doha. The joint meeting will be held as a follow-up on the recommendations of the Declaration of Berlin, adopted in 2013 by the 5th World Conference of Sport Ministers (MINEPS V). It will gather over 60 government officials, international experts and leaders in sport. Hailed as a beacon for future national and international sports policy, the Declaration of Berlin was adopted by 600 participants from 121 countries at the MINEPS V. It seeks to improve and enhance international cooperation between governments and all other sport stakeholders on issues of access, investment and integrity of sport. Some of the key recommendations outlined within Declaration of Berlin with respect to the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions include improved sports governance and zero-tolerance policy within the sport movement, especially against doping and the manipulation of sports competitions. It also recommends greater collaboration in the early detection of manipulation; preventive measures and monitoring in accordance with national and international law and an effective, proportionate disciplinary regulation combined with specific national and international legislation.

Source: "Doha to host technical meeting on match-fixing", 12 September 2015, The Peninsula, https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/352193/doha-to-host-technical-meeting-on-match-fixing

 

ILLEGAL BETTING

Australia

A “backyard” gambling operation set up for punters who wanted to smoke, drink, watch sport and bet in a comfortable environment landed a Perth father in court, where he was fined $3000 yesterday. Professional poker player Brian Joseph Glynn claims to have organised the gatherings at a property he rented in a semi-industrial area in Burswood to provide training to other players and gamble among friends, who could not smoke at the casino. Unbeknown to Glynn, the activities were monitored by a nine-month covert joint operation by Racing and Gaming WA officers and police. Prosecutor Jane Godfrey told the Perth Magistrate’s Court, where Glynn pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing premises to be used as a common gambling house, that the father of three had set up a “significant venture”. Ms Godfrey said when a search warrant was executed at the property on October 13, 2013, people were playing the card game Sexy. Some players had hundreds of dollars on them, others thousands. Glynn took a commission on wagers, there was evidence the property was being used for gambling on a weekly basis and there was a board outlining a jackpot system. Ms Godfrey said the joint investigation was expensive and the offence was difficult to detect.

Source: Amanda Banks, "Father fined over illegal gambling den", 10 September 2015, The Western Australian, https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/29481114/father-fined-over-illegal-gambling-den/

China

Guo Meimei has been sentenced to five years in prison for illegal casino operation. Guo Meimei, a Chinese Internet celebrity, has been sentenced to serve five years in jail and pay a fine of 50,000 yuan ($7,840) for illegal casino operation, according to an announcement by the Beijing Dongcheng People's District Court on its official Sina Weibo account on Thursday. The court charged Guo with organizing gambling activities in an apartment. In Aug. 2014, Guo was arrested by Beijing police after they cracked down on online football gambling activities. She was held under the suspicion of running illegal gambling activities, engaging in prostitution and posting false information on her website about the 2013 World Cup. According to prosecutors, Guo organized three gambling sessions in March, June and July at an apartment in Chao-yan District in Beijing. The sessions involved a total of 2.1 million yuan. Guo admitted to inviting people to the apartment for high-stakes poker games, but denied running an illegal casino. She showed remorse to the court and pled for a lighter sentence as a first-time offender. According to Zhou Hao, a lawyer from Jia An Law Office in Beijing, "the amount of money and people involved in the gambling activities, and whether the suspect pleads guilty, will affect the verdict. The verdict was stiffer than a similar case because of Guo's influence on society as a celebrity and her attitude." The trial on Thursday did not include her alleged involvement in prostitution or her relationship with a businessman surnamed Wang, who was arrested in July 2014.

Source: "Internet Celebrity Guo Meimei Sentenced to Five Years", 12 September 2015, Yibada News, https://en.yibada.com/articles/62846/20150912/internet-celebrity-guo-meimei-sentenced-five-years.htm

United States

Americans will wager $US93 billion ($133.5 billion) on American football this year through criminal channels - in wagers that would be completely legal - and therefore taxable - in Australia. Sports betting has been illegal in the United States since 1992 in all but four of the 50 states. There have been growing calls to end federal statutes against sports gambling in the US, but as it stands, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware are the only areas that allow sports betting under federal law. Nevada accounts for almost all of the legal bets - estimated to be $US24.9 billion ($35.8 billion) between 1989 and 2014 - due to the sheer number of casinos and and aggressive betting culture in Las Vegas. There have been growing calls for this regulation to be abolished, not only for the benefit of millions of punters, but because of the enormous tax potential which is being taken advantage of by countries around the world, including Australia. It has prompted avid sports punters to throw their money around illegally and the problem is so rife that of the $US95 billion ($135 billion) wagered overall on American football, just $US2 billion ($2.9 billion) is put down legally, according to the American Gaming Association. Even more astounding is that during last year's Super Bowl, the AGA reports Americans placed $US3.8 billion ($5.5 billion) of illegal bets compared to just $US100 million ($143.6 million) via authorised channels.

Source: Tom Decent, "Debate rages over America's $133.5 billion annual illegal sports betting industry", 10 September 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/sport/us-sports/debate-rages-over-americas-1335-billion-annual-illegal-sports-betting-industry-20150909-gjj2fd.html

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Korea (Rep. of)

With the nation's professional basketball league struggling over an illegal betting and match-fixing scandal, calls are growing that other professional sports should renew their gambling countermeasures. A number of Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League teams have been organizing classes for their players after authorities said Chun Chang-jin, a former Anyang KGC basketball team coach, is the target of match-fixing allegations related to when he was in charge of the KT Sonicboom. Since a 2012 match-fixing scandal which hit the baseball circuit hard and resulted in two players getting kicked out of the sport permanently, the KBO has been working with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to monitor games. Also, former police officers are dispatched to each stadium to monitor potential rigging schemes. The K-League, Korea's professional football league, is also making efforts to prevent a recurrence of a 2011 crisis in which 52 players ended up being indicted for match-fixing. Match analysts monitor each game and report any suspicious moments to the K-League for further investigation. Education classes have been organized for rookie players to teach them how they should manage potential approaches from fixers, and law enforcement officers visit each club before the season to educate players. The Korean Volleyball Federation also sends "undercover" officials to matches to stay vigilant against possible rigging attempts, as well as conducting video monitoring after games. However, critics suggest these efforts are not enough, given the Korea Basketball League (KBL) has been operating under similar measures, but faces a massive corruption scandal again just months after Chun's case which first revealed in May. Earlier this week, police said they are investigating 11 professional basketball players on suspicion of illegal gambling and match-fixing.

Source: Nam Hyun-woo, "Calls mount for tougher steps against match-fixing", 11 September 2015, The Korea Times, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/sports/2015/09/600_186662.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Poland

Two Polish tennis players have been suspended and fined for violating the sport's anti-corruption rules. The Tennis Integrity Unit said that Piotr Gadomski and Arkadiusz Kocyla were found guilty of charges involving match-fixing. The 24-year-old Gadomski was suspended for seven years and fined $15,000 whereas 21-year-old Kocyla was suspended for five years and fined $15,000. The cases were heard at a joint hearing in London. The integrity unit said that the suspensions took effect immediately with both players banned from playing or attending any tournament organized by governing bodies of professional tennis. There were no specific details of the allegations provided against the players. Gadomski was ranked No. 739 and Kocyla No. 806 in the latest ATP rankings.

Source: "Two Polish players suspended for corruption", 11 September 2015, Tennis World Magazine, https://www.tennisworldusa.org/two-polish-players-suspended-for-corruption-articolo26139.html

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