Bet Fixing And Match-Fixing In Sports
Even though the vast majority of punters and sportsman will not accept any form of match-fixing, some people will go all the way to guarantee themselves a win. This is similar to those people who would card count in a casino or will play with a rigged die on Craps. They would risk anything to win all, and on this page we have explored some of the most significant cases in the history of the sport.
Match Fixing – What It Is?
Match Fixing is when someone has colluded one or more contestants to perform some actions so that the punters in-the-know can make money from bookmakers. Those people will know what is going to happen, as they have ‘fixed’ it before with the performers, and will place massive bets so that they can make a healthy profit out of it.
Most Important Examples Of Match Fixing Betting In Sport
Now that we have made it clear what the meaning is of Match Fixing let’s take a look at what are the most significant high-profile examples of match-fixing happened in the sport.
Football Match Fixing
British Betting Scandal In 1964
Jimmy Gauld was a Scottish international footballer that started to approach a Sheffield Wednesday player called Layne. They began to look at suitable games to fix. They then contacted players to fix matches. Quite a lot of games were fixed over the next years until The Sunday People newspaper managed to break the story. Lots of players were sent to prison and banned from the sport.
Italian Football Fixing Scandal In 1980
Known in Italy as ‘Totonero’ it was discovered by the police, and involved teams from both Serie A and Serie B. Players were selling matches for money and very high-profile clubs were involved like AC Milan, Lazio and Bologna. Players and top managers were banned and several teams were relegated in lower divisions. The match-fixing also involved favourable referees.
Bundesliga Scandal In 2005
It was discovered in 2005 than a referee called Robert Hoyzer has been fixing matches in the 2. Bundesliga and others leagues and Cups. The scandal didn’t go us up to the Bundesliga but a game between Paderborn and Bundesliga side Hamburg was also involved.
Hoyzer apparently attended meetings with a Croatian gambling syndicate. Hoyzer was banned and jailed even though he did inform the police of other players and referees involved.
Second Italian Match Fixing Scandal In 2006
Also called Calciopoli it was discovered by the Italian police who made telephone interceptions. It involved the major clubs and top referees. Clubs of the calibre of Juventus, Lazio, AC Milan and Fiorentina were all involved in some ways. Juventus were relegated and other teams had points deductions.
Horse Racing Fixing
It is undoubtedly more challenging to fix horse racing as the sport goes beyond the human element. There have been however some cases, and we will look at those below:
Francasal In 1953
The first horse racing fixing took place in 1953. It involved a French horse called Francasal that was unknown and not so good. He didn’t end up running the race and was instead replaced by a more experienced and fast horse named Santa Amaro. The conspirators placed large bets on Francasal and also cut the communication with the on-course bookies so odds stayed high despite the big bets being placed. Eventually, Santa Amaro won, but bookies got suspicions due to the communication lines being cut and refused to pay out. In the end, the fixing was discovered, and conspirators went to jail.
1974 – Gay Future
They also used a couple of horses that look very similar but had different ability levels. On the day of the race, the two horses were swapped so the talented Gay Future could run instead. The plot nearly worked out but it was the stable man who eventually informed the journalists of the plan.
1982 – Flockton Grey
Also, in this case, look-alike horses were used in a similar scam in Leicester. The horse that was swapped won by twenty lengths clear to their competitor and that caused the suspicion of the bookies that refused to pay out. Eventually, blood tests on the horse that won showed the scam and people involved were suspended and jailed.
2002 – Pick Six Fraud
Harn, who was working as a ticket printer, re-printed the winning tickets of a rance and gave it to friends so that they could cash them in. They did that on the biggest day of American racing, called Breeders’ Cup. Harn was a ‘super-user’ so could manipulate the betting system and turn his friends’ bets into winning tickets. They did an accumulator with all the big races of the day, but the authorities got suspicious as the only winning ticket of the big 6 of the meeting was the one of his friends and uncovered the plot.
2010-2011 – Andrew Heffernan Case
Heffernan was a jockey who gave two other men insider information so that they could place large bets on horses to lose their races on the betting exchanges.
He would then rode the horses in a way that they couldn’t win. The British Horse Racing Authority found him out, and he was later convicted and banned together with the other two men.
Baseball Match Fixing
1919 – Black Sox Scandal
This is probably the bigger fixing scandal in the US sporting history. It involved 8th members of the Chicago White Sox baseball team that were paid cash to lose their World Series match against the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to the money, players were disgruntled with the club owner at the time and did that as an act of revenge.
Cricket Match Fixing
Cricket is with football one of the sports that has been more affected by match-fixing issues during their history.
2000 – Hansie Cronje
The South African cricketer Hansie Cronje was selling matches to a blacklisted Indian bookmaker. The Indian police managed to register the conversation and exposed the problem in 2013. Cronje died in a ‘suspicious’ plane crash in 2002 but many believe he was murdered to avoid revealing the scandal.
2010 – Pakistani Cricket Match-Fixing Scandal
In 2010 the Pakistani cricket team was playing in England and journalists from the News of the World discovered that some Pakistani cricket players were corrupted and were fixing parts of the game. All the players were banned and jailed.
2018 Australian Ball Tampering Fixing
Australian bowler Cameron Bancroft was using sandpaper to modify the condition of the ball in a test match against South Africa. Even though the tampering wasn’t linked with betting, it still affected lots of wagers. All the players involved were banned.
Esports Competition Fix
Even non-traditional sports have recently been involved in fixing: the ever-increasing world of Esport has two recent cases.
2010 – Starcraft Scandal
Two professionals were losing games of Starcraft allowing punters to make money via gambling. Two arrests were made
2015 – IBuyPower And NetcodeGuides
iBuyPower team was expected to win comfortably against NetcodeGuides in Counter-Strike Global Offensive game at the CEVO Professional Season 5 tournament in August of 2014. They instead lost the game 16-4 after making bizarre decisions. The plot was done again to benefit from gambling on the competition.
Other Sports Match Fixing Issues
In 2016 an investigation from the BBC and Buzzfeed discovered that some Italian and Russians betting syndicates were fixing tennis matches in big competitions including Wimbledon.
Are Some Sports More Prone To Fixing?
Match-fixing nowadays doesn’t tend to target the overall result but elements of the game like goals scored, corners and so on. They are far easier to influence and only require few people involved. Football and Crickets are by nature two of the sports most affected: the reason is that there are so many moving parts and also many markets where it is possible to bet.
Tennis is also open to match-fixing: a player could lose a game or even a point and put it down to bad form. It will be difficult to prove it was fixed. Also at a lower level, tennis players do not earn too much and might be easier to recruit.
What If You Have Placed A Bet On A Match Suspended Because It Is Fixed?
Nowadays betting sites have programmes that allow them to see if there are suspicious bets on a market. If someone places a £10,000 on a market where the average bet is £10, there might be something really wrong. When this happens, the bookmaker might suspend the betting activity on that market until they have been able to investigate.
This doesn’t mean your bet won’t be valid as yet. When the investigation is completed the bookmakers will decide if paying out or not. If they have already paid out there is little they can do. Bookmakers might refuse to pay out a bet for several reasons most of which have nothing to do with match-fixing.
Match Fixing In The Future
Technology is making more difficult to fix matches and get away with it. We don’t expect it will go away, but it might become more subtle. In play betting and the many markets available might be a temptation for many contenders. Even the best tennis player might make a double fault from time to time, and this will not raise concerns.
Bookmakers, however, can use technology to see suspicious activities on different markets and those are without doubts great ammunition in their power to defend the integrity of sport and reduce match-fixing in the future.