Sports Betting: Examples of Match Fixing
When sport betting was invented by sports fans, it did not take long for athletes to come up with ways to join in the fun. Sports betting is gambling on the outcome of a sports match/event, or aspects of it. Normally it is only the spectators who make such wagers. But sometimes there are sportsmen and women and game officials who just can't resist the allure of money. Either they bet on a match on their own (secretly, of course) or they are bribed by someone else who has a stake on the match. In either case, they will use their influence on the match to try and get the desired result. This is known as Match Fixing. Athletes and officials proven to take part in match fixing can get banned for life in their sport.
How does match fixing work? Let us look at a few examples of match-fixing.
- BOXING. Boxing is a lucrative sport. Major boxing events are telecast worldwide on both pay-per-view and free television. Because of the huge money at stake, some boxers may be tempted to fix their matches. This is easy to do since the boxer is alone (unlike in a team sport where it is relatively tougher for one person to influence a game).
One example of match fixing in boxing is when a champion is favored to win by knockout over some challenger. The champion is such a heavy favorite that nobody wagers on who is going to win; instead they make "prop bets" (exotic bets) on when the fight will be stopped by KO. If the public goes for an early round knockout, the boxer can have a friend bet on a seventh round stoppage instead. During the match, the fighter will then deliberately prolong the match by playing slack; they will not deliver the KO punch until the seventh round. The boxer and their partner gambler then make a lot of money since no other bettors expected the fight to last that long.
- BETTING EXCHANGES. Betting exchanges on the Internet are places where people can match bets with one another without the need of a bookie. Match fixing is easy there because unlike in a traditional sportsbook, it is possible to "lay" a selection to lose. In any contest where there are more than two contestants, it is always easier to pick a loser than a winner. It is also easier for a match fixer to a guarantee a loss than a win. So a jockey can plot with a bettor in a betting exchange and then cause a horse to lose a race.
- TEAM SPORTS. In team sports, match fixing is often done by point shaving, or purposefully reducing the score of a team. Often sports bettors do not just wager on who's going to win (a straight bet), but on how many points will be scored total, how many points the winning team will lead and so on. By adjusting their game play, a player or team can create the outcome they want to win the bet.
Sometimes it is not just money. In the soccer World Cup, teams have been accused of conniving together to help one another advance in the event by controlling their scores.
There is another type of match fixing which the athletes take no part in: match fixing by judges and officials. It is believed that judges and officials are sometimes bribed to favor certain individuals, teams and countries. But this, like other types of match fixing, are hard to prove.