Integrity in sports update: South Korean police strengthen crackdown on illegal gambling operators

Weekly media recap 26 October 2015 - 1 November 2015 published on 03 November 2015

In this week’s media recap, we would like to highlight the statement of the former football player Matthew Etherington who said that his addiction to gambling almost ruined his life. His statement shows once again how crucial itis to protect Athletes/Players from gambling and how gambling is becoming an issue within sport.

There are good practices introduced in Australia Cricket body, which is very confident in its sophisticated anti-corruption programme that will protect the game and the players.

From police side, interesting to see how the Republic of Korea decided to strengthen its strategy against illegal betting, given that often criminal gangs are involved in such cases.

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Canada

CALGARY — Springbank High School is experimenting with a new sports program that focuses on building individual character rather than winning.

The Global Sport Academy is also designed to keep students active in athletics longer and help them succeed on the scoreboard and in classes too.

This is a hockey program, we know that, but first and foremost this is a character education program,” said Jeff Ovens.

Global Sport coaches like Ovens are playing on students’ desire to succeed on the ice, to give them tools when the skates come off.

Source: Lisa MacGregor, "Global Sport Academy’ teaches student athletes integrity before winning", 27 October 2015, Global news, https://globalnews.ca/news/2302996/global-sport-academy-teaches-student-athletes-integrity-before-winning/

 

ILLEGAL BETTING

Korea (Rep. of)

Police said Friday that they will strengthen their crackdown on illegal gambling websites and site operators. Given that gangs are involved in running many large-scale gambling sites, police plan to apply the law against "organizing a criminal group" instead of the previously applied gambling one. According to police, many gambling websites with tens of thousands of members are operated by crime rings. So far, such website operators were indicted on charge of opening a gambling place. Under such a charge, the punishment was up to seven years in prison or a 70 million won fine.

"However, with the charge of criminal group organization, the operators will be subject to harsher punishments of up to life sentences," an official of the National Police Agency said.

Programmers who create and manage gambling sites will also be punished as accomplices, and those who offer web hosting services while knowing the sites are for illegal gambling, as abettors. Also, not only site operators but gamblers will face heavier punishments.

Source: Chung Hyun-chae, "Police declare war on gambling sites", 30 October 2015, The Korea Times, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/10/116_189840.html

ODDS AND ENDS

Australia

As a new Australian summer again throws up the spectre of illegal gambling, Cricket Australia is confident its sophisticated anti-corruption program will protect the game and the players.

Punters continue to flock to cricket no matter where matches are played in the world, with more than $600 million bet on matches in the local Twenty20 Big Bash League last season.

But CA has lifted its anti-corruption measures domestically and internationally in recent years, and now shares intelligence with English and Indian authorities, while having an official memorandum of understanding with the International Cricket Council. This comes at a time when cricket's corruptors are becoming more sophisticated in the way they target players and officials.

Source: Jon Pierik, "Cricket Australia confident in its 'sophisticated' anti-corruption measures", 1 November 2015, The Sidney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/cricket-australia-confident-in-its-sophisticated-anticorruption-measures-20151031-gknvv5.html

United Kingdom

Former Stoke winger Matthew Etherington believes plenty of Premier League stars are suffering from the addiction to gambling which almost ruined his life.

The 34-year-old, who retired in 2014 due to a back injury, has admitted to betting up to £120,000 - a month's wage at the Britannia Stadium - within a fortnight when his problem was at its worst.

Etherington received help from his family and the Sporting Chance rehabilitation clinic to get over his issues, while he still attends Gamblers' Anonymous meetings to help avoid a relapse.

But while his experiences have caught the attention of a number of concerned football agents, the ex-West Ham star is yet to receive a call from a player willing to combat his addiction.

'Gambling is an illness,' he told the BBC. I've had agents ring me up, on behalf of their players, probably a dozen now, saying can you speak to the player.

'He's in a lot of trouble. His wife is thinking about leaving him, he's financially in trouble.

'I'm not going to give them the words to stop, they've got to do it themselves. But if they want to talk, of course I'll be there.

Source: Joe Strange, "Matthew Etherington says 'a dozen' football agents have asked him to advise players on gambling... but none of them want to stop", 28 October 2015, Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3293293/Matthew-Etherington-says-dozen-football-agents-asked-advise-players-gambling-none-want-
stop.html

United States

The sports and business worlds have been scandalized by recent allegations of “insider trading” in daily fantasy sports. Employees of DraftKings and FanDuel, competitors in the daily fantasy industry, reportedly were allowed to play for money at their competitor’s website and profited by exploiting inside information. One DraftKings employee won $350,000 playing a FanDuel contest allegedly using his company’s data to inform his lineup choices. To date, the few dozen DraftKings employees that its CEO admits have been playing on FanDuel have won more than $6 million in prizes.

The scandal invites closer scrutiny of the daily fantasy sports juggernaut and its threat to the integrity of professional sports. By erasing the distinction between gambling and fantasy — with many major sports entities profiting, these companies undermine the principles and values of athletic competition in the same way sports wagering does. Consider the list of investors in fantasy sports sites, including most of the pro leagues (NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and individual NFL owners Bob Kraft and Jerry Jones) and the biggest sports networks (ESPN, NBC Sports, Fox Sports). More ominous is that the NFL Players Association just struck a deal with DraftKings to earn fees from the company’s use of player images in its ads. On the other hand, the NCAA has explicitly denounced fantasy sports as a form of gambling and bans college players from participating at the risk of losing a year of athletic eligibility.

Source: Jodi Balsam, "Fantasy sports scandal exposes threat to integrity of sport", 26 October 2015, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, https://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/10/22/fantasy-sports-scandal-exposes-threat-integrity-sport

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Japan

Tokyo 2020 executive director of communications and engagement Hidetoshi Fujisawa has condemned three Japanese baseball players at the centre of an illegal betting scandal but claimed the scandal will not hamper the sport's chances of inclusion at the Olympic Games in five years' time. Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto, who all play for Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) side Yomiuri Giants, based in the Japanese capital, have been found to have bet on matches, despite gambling being illegal in Japan. The League prohibits players from betting on matches, with NPB Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki describing the situation as “regrettable”.

We condemn the incident in the strongest possible terms,” he said. "We would like the relevant authorities to exert the utmost efforts in its investigation of this matter and implement the necessary measures to ensure that these types of illegal practices are completely eradicated."

This issue threatens the integrity of sport and the trust of baseball fans and society in general."

Baseball is an extremely popular sport in Japan and we believe that its inclusion would greatly add to the value of the 2020 Games."

Source: Liam Morgan, "Tokyo 2020 condemn actions of three Japanese players embroiled in illegal betting scandal", 26 October 2015, Inside the games, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1031212/tokyo-2020-condemn-actions-of-three-japanese-players-embroiled-in-illegal-betting-scandal

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