The nature of sports betting attracts other elements of the crime. Despite illicit activity that goes against European, U.S and Asian gambling regulations, money laundering is the crime most associated with sports betting. But the slippery slope of crime can make victims arrive at levels lower than they imagined. Often extortion and even murder can enter the world of sports betting.
The goalkeeper Marco Paoloni was targeted and lured into sports betting for what seemed to be recreation. Yet after accumulating some gambling debt, Paolini found himself and his family amidst a scandal. Two Chinese students attending Newcastle University, were placing bets for a gambling cartel in China. Once they decided to place some “side bets” for themselves, they ended up being murdered making UK gambling news.
The connected match fixing world and its ties to Singapore
Bulgarian and Serbian mafia corresponds with Italian sports betting fraudsters. Turkey and Germany have strong criminal ties. The Albanian mafia is embedded in Belgium. And everybody is connected to the Chinese triads as well as the mafia in Singapore. The gambling fraudsters have created a world-wide network built on the goal of fixing sporting events.
To fix a match requires money to all of those who take part including players, coaches and so forth. Below average players are the biggest targets. These players gamble, drink and womanize and are easy to coerce. Often their salaries cannot support their lifestyles and they need to supplement their income. For example, Erik Ding, a nightclub owner is accused of bribing three Lebanese footballers with money and prostitutes in Singapore.
Singapore, being a tax haven, is a hotbed for sports betting and match fixing connections to Europe, Asia, South and Central America. When betting agents need to have larger wages covered or need to pay larger fees to players to influence matches, they contact a financier who is often a mafia “higher up.” Dan Tan, arrested in Singapore, is believed by Interpol to have headed many fixed matches in Europe.
German state prosecutor Andreas Bachman said that it’s ”well known that Italian authorities are trying to have him extradited from Singapore. But other European countries are conducting their own investigations into Tan. We’ve discovered from our own circle of suspects that they have been in touch with this person from Singapore.“ Working within Singapore gambling laws, it took over a year to arrest Tan.
Other centers for betting and the danger of players who gamble
Rudolph Stinner, former UEFA investigator spoke about other havens for sports betting. “Singapore is no more dubious for its gambling fraud than let’s say Istanbul for instance. We know equally dubious types are in Istanbul. These groups all have the same goal in mind. There’s a gang in Skopia, in Macedonia, in Zagreb, in Belarus, in various cities in the Baltic States, in Moscow. As you can see there are plenty of more to keep it going.”
• Everybody is connected to the Chinese triads as well as the mafia in Singapore
• Dan Tan is believed by Interpol to have headed many fixed matches in Europe
• Players will often place wages against their own teams
Out of the German Football Association’s 7 million members and 25,000 clubs, gambling is an illness. The Bremen league is one example plagued by gambling fraud. Smaller leagues harder to monitor. Thomas Laesch, a coach, said he saw one of his players, a goalkeeper, approached by someone during the half time when they were leading 1-0. The goalkeeper was told if he let one goal by, “he would make it worth his while.”
Laesch went to the goalkeeper and said if you concede one goal today whether we win or lose it will be your last game for this club. His team ended up winning and the goalkeeper was cleared of scrutiny. Players will often place wages against their own teams which is prohibited by German gambling laws. University of Bremen Professor Gerhard Meyer he was part of a study were clubs were visited in Bremen and Kiel.
“We found out that more than half the club members have gambled at some point or another. But we also know that 3-6% of the overall population gambles on events and 9% percent manifested problematic or even pathological behavior.” Those figures show that the small percentage of those gambling are made up of many insiders, players, than outsiders.