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£5.20 (€8.30) • ISSUE:72 • SEPTEMBER 2010 •

Spot betting a blemish on industry’s reputation

The international betting industry has been thrown into disarray following the alleged actions of the three Pakistani cricketers who have been accused of ‘spot fixing’.


he emergence of the ‘spot fixing’ scandal allegedly involving three Pakistan crick-

eters may be the best argu- ment for regulating illegal betting markets, according to lawyers. The News of the World sting suggested that Pakistan captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had colluded to deliver no balls at certain times during a match against England to enable ‘fixer’ Mazhar Majeed to pass on the information for betting purposes.

The problem facing the

sport and the gambling indus- try is that betting on the outcome of an individual ball - spot betting - is only widely available in the illegal and unregulated Asian markets, seemingly making the Gam- bling Commission with its remit over the UK gambling industry powerless to act. And while the UK betting industry has not been directly defrauded in this case, its hard won reputation has suffered by association with the over- seas illegal market.

The players have now been charged by the International Cricket Council with various offences under Article 2 of its

Anti-Corruption Code. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “The ICC will do every- thing possible to keep such conduct out of the game and we will stop at nothing to protect the sport’s integrity.” Part of this may be lobby- ing the Indian government to legalise its betting markets, where much of the illegal gambling occurs. It appears that the Indian government is in the mood to listen as well, with noises that the country might look to replicate the UK’s Gambling Act.

Lawyer Rahul Mehra, who has pitched many legal battles for sporting transparency in

the country, agrees. He told Reuters: “Legalising betting is important, for this is no secret that everyone, including busi- nessmen and corporate houses, wants to bet on cricket. Besides, legalising it would give the government some control over the indus- try. They should think about setting up something like a Betting Commission or Gam- bling Commission.”

Khalid Ali, secretary- general of the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), said that none of its members offered a market on no-balls during the fourth test but has offered to help the ICC

European markets softening on gaming REGULATION F

ollowing the recent launch of the French online betting and poker market, more European countries have announced their intention to create walled-garden internet gaming regimes. Back in 2009 Denmark announced its plans to liberalise, whilst neighbouring Sweden is presently part way through a consultancy period to study the options for moving from a monopoly based system. However, in recent months Greece and the Netherlands, as well as

another of the Spanish regions, Aragon, have given details of the new gaming regimes to come into force next year. Whilst Greece has been forced to change its stance on gaming as a result of EU sanctions and the country’s financial crisis, the Dutch appear to be considering liberalising online poker - but not bingo, casino, or even sports betting which will remain under monopoly control - for more pragmatic reasons. According to a report commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of

Justice, there are doubts that a monopoly poker operator would ‘be able to capture a significant market share based on the illegal operators’ already targeting the Dutch public. If the recommendations of the commission are adopted, licences will be available ‘on a non-exclusive basis’. Meanwhile, Aragon is the latest autonomous region to license sports betting, allowing operators to offer betting in bars and dedicated outlets, as well as online. Report by Graham Wood

Mohammad Amir is one of the Pakistan players under suspicion

with its investigation. He added: “Match-fixing for betting-related purposes is a criminal activity that damages sport, through loss of integrity, and bookmakers, which lose out financially. The licensed, regulated betting industry has worked extremely hard to minimise the threat to sports’ integrity from betting-

related match-fixing.” In the meantime, the spot fixing scandal is the second alleged sport betting corrup- tion story unearthed by the News of the World this year after the paper also ran an expose on snooker star’s John Higgins’ apparent will- ingness to lose some frames for a £300,000 payment.

£1m 49s winner at Ladbrokes


Ladbrokes betting shop customer has become the book- maker’s first ever £1m winner after a £1 stake on the twice daily 49s numbers game. The bet was placed in Ladbrokes’ Undercliffe shop in Bradford, where the unnamed customer has already won £10,000 on 49s two years go.

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Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams said: “We knew our number was up when the shop told us of the news. This guy clearly has a unique talent as he’s done it before. Paul The Octopus’s feats are nothing but tid- dlers compared to what our guy has done. It’s an incred- ible win and we salute our very first shop millionaire.”


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