Sport is rife with corruption and bet fixing “happens more than it is reported”. That is the opinion of Irish sports betting journalist Wayne Bailey.
Wayne, who writes a sports betting column for the Irish Independent, said that the betting industry is becoming the scapegoat for an issues that goes beyond the industry’s control.
“I think it would be easy to simply blame the betting industry, said Wayne. “It’s the criminals who carry out this type of thing and a lot of the betting firms are losing money because of it. It would be simple to say that if there was no betting on the sport, it would be corruption free but that’s not necessarily true – look at cycling for example.”
Wayne further explained how the ‘corruption’ within the industry is obviously not in its best interests and has serious financial ramifications.
“The money involved for reaching certain competitions is massive so there’s always a reason for corruption, even if you removed the betting. The betting industry doesn’t have much to gain – they can often lose large sums and their reputation gets damaged too so it’s in their interest to make sure it stops.”
Improper regulation is the problem according to Wayne.
“From what I gather, a lot of these recent cases are to do with Asian betting firms. These don’t seem to be properly regulated at all, and in countries like the U.S. betting is illegal so you have Italian Mafia running betting shops in places like New York and in Boston, Irish ‘Mafia’ types run the show.”
Wayne, who is a former editor of Betfair.com’s opinion and advice website, stressed that the the betting industry at home is ‘clean’ and one that leads the way in terms of regulation.
“In Ireland and the UK, I think that the industry has totally cleaned up its act in the last ten years. There is a paper trail and websites such as Betfair now hand over any suspicious activity to the police so it’s harder to be corrupt in this part of the world.
“When the exchanges (person to person betting as oppose to betting against a bookmaker) came about which allowed laying (backing a team or horse to lose), people said it would cause more corruption. But the ability to back a team to lose was always there – you would just back the opposition to win or draw which is effectively the same thing.
15 or 20 years ago, there was no paper trail but with the online stuff, it’s easy to trace people who are suspicious. So I’d argue that betting companies are trying their best to stop it, in this part of the world.”
Wayne, who also runs his own betting advice website, based on horseracing, believes that the corruption runs deep, and in horse racing maybe breed in the sport due to its links with the betting world.
“I do think it happens more than it is reported. In horse racing, there is quite a bit of corruption going on although I suppose that’s to be expected as it is a sport which revolves around gambling. Other sports take place for sporting reasons but racing takes place in order for people to gamble.”
Wayne also believes that the reportage of bet fixing as “a new problem” in the media is false and that the real losers in this is the general public.
“Corruption in racing has been going on forever and it’s been going on a long time in football too. Although he was cleared of the charges, Bruce Grobbelaar was up on charges in the 90’s for supposedly throwing Liverpool games. While the case against him fell apart, it was clear that corruption was certainly taking place in the game. It’s certainly a problem though and the real loser is the Joe Soap punter who bets on a team or horse in good faith, not knowing that they don’t have a chance.”