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Can the U.S Save the World from Gambling Corruption by Legalizing Gambling?

Legal betting USA corruption

Can America lead the World in its fight against sports gambling corruption?

Although limited gambling is legal throughout Europe in the form of lotteries, online internet casinos and online sportsbooks, sports wagering is still a very corrupt business. Unfortunately it’s attached to other crimes such a drug and arms trafficking. Sports betting, is used to launder large amounts of illegal cash gained through other means.

• SportsRadar has caught more than 1,800 incidents of fraud since 2009
• .01 percent of U.S sports leagues had signs of illegal wagering in the 1990’s
• The NFL and NCAA have shown opposition to Adam Silver’s crusade

Europe is flooded with cartels that maintain correspondence with Eastern European gambling rings which use gambling corridors in Hong Kong and Singapore to place bets for large amounts. Often match fixing is a large part of these operations. Although the U.S has a different gambling culture, could the methods of regulating gambling activity by used by Europe if they were to legalize gambling?

The plight of the European gambling experience

European football is infected with gambling fraud. Chris Eaton, global sports security expert who’s worked with INTERPOL and FIFA, said “Eastern European and Southeast Asian betting fraudsters have driven European Soccer into the danger zone. The U.S.A very much holds the key to saving international sports from complete loss or credibility.”
Major syndicates have arranged fixed football matches in over 15 countries including phantom or “ghost” matches that are put on the sportsbooks, but don’t exist.

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton (Photo: SBCNews)

The international sports betting market is believed to be four times larger than the sports economy. These numbers have already forced U.S authorities to pay attention to the betting culture in other countries they wish to expand their leagues into. America isn’t the only countries with the resources to discern gambling data. British company Sportsradar provides tracking for 65,000 matches for 10 sports annually. The European watchdog has caught more than 1,800 incidents of fraud since 2009.

The International Center for Sports Security (ICSS) is an advisory group which lends support in matters of sports safety, security and integrity. By forming alliances with data providers, betting integrity monitors and sports leagues, its aim is to rid corruption in sports. Around USD 1.5 to 2 trillion is the total worth of the global sports betting market according to ICSS estimates.

In addition, ICSS estimates USD 406 billion is bet on American sports outside the U.S. gambling laws. Remember this statistic include people within and outside the U.S that wage on these sports in areas that lack legitimacy and therefore are challenging to regulate. Eaton, currently executive director of sports security for ICSS, spoke of how the U.S can avoid Europe’s fate.

America’s fortune with limited scandal could be its undoing

“If the U.S wants to avoid the European Experience, it must first regulate or, at the very least, nationally recognize the reality of global sport betting. As the U.S sports internationalize, they need to realize that they are entering a vulnerable sport betting market at the same time. U.S sports must avoid repeating the European error of thinking they can protect themselves at home, while remaining a target abroad.”

Currently the U.S is doing a better than satisfactory job at avoiding a corruption epidemic. A study by a Las Vegas consulting firm in 2000 showed that .01 percent of games in 12 U.S sports leagues showed evidence of abnormal wagering from 1990 to 2000. Unfortunately most of the scandals found were confined within NCAA basketball and involved point shaving.

These incidents had occurred at Auburn University, University of California at San Diego, University of Toledo and Northwestern University. The Tim Donaghy incident left a mark on the NBA and professional sports alike. The scandal involving Donaghy, a referee, who gambled on games he officiated was bad, but only really represented a “speed bump” in match manipulation.
on the sportsbooks, but don’t exist.

Tim Donaghy NBA

Tim Donaghy, NBA referee (Photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Now with sports team franchises selling at higher rates than ever, such as USD 2 billion for the LA Clippers, the U.S still faces Nevada sportsbook figures that double those that occurred during Donaghy’s debacle. With USD 1.1 billion waged on Nevada and online sportsbooks in the U.S, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stepped in to lead in the fight against tougher regulation of sports betting by legalizing betting.

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