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June 23, 2013
Staggering 80% of sports bets worldwide are illegal

(L-R) AIPS President Gianni Merlo, European Lotteries President Friedrich Stickler and AIPS Treasurer and Sports Media Austria President Michael Kuhn at the match fixing seminar in Vienna.Photo/Günter Pfeistlinger
by Josef Langer, Secretary General Sports Media Austria

VIENNA, June 23, 2013 - A retired football player approaches 2 to 4 players of the same team (goalkeeper, defenders, striker). He proposes money (for example, € 30,000) to lose with a significant goal difference (at least 5 goals) against the championship’s leader. 20 punters working with the match fixer bet (€ 5,000 each) with 20 different bookmakers in Asia. They bet on a difference of 5 goals or more (odds: 15). The game ends with a 6:1 result.

This is just one scenario of thousands that happen every day the world over. Match fixing is posing a huge problem in sports. In fact, it is a problem far worse than doping. The World Lottery Association (WLA) is on a mission to bring this information to the attention of the world. And its strategy is to engage the support and cooperation of the media. That is the reason why WLA and the European Lotteries (ELsports) are collaborating with AIPS.

On Fridau June 21 a day-long seminar was hosted by ELsports in Vienna with guests invited by AIPS (represented by president Gianni Merlo) and Sports Media Austria (represented by president Michael Kuhn).

The Austrian president of European Lotteries, Friedrich Stickler said: „A few days ago Europol published 680 actual cases – but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Unlawful sports bets worldwide are responsible for between 400 and 500 billion euros of turnover and it is estimated that 80% of the sport betting market is illegal," Mr Stickler added.

But this illegal "business" can generate a huge amount of money.

Here is an example of just one case:

Expenses (€ 250.000) - fixers’ travel & accommodation 10,000; bribes for the players 120,000; 20 punters betting 5,000 each is a total of 100,000; punters’ salaries are estimated at 10,000Winnings – 100,000 x 15 (estimate) = Euro 1,500,000And the profits of just this one case will be in the vicinity of Euro 1,250,000

And Stickler warned: "It is a vicious circle. If a person was involved just once they remain susceptible to blackmail, and then there is no possibility of escaping."

Match fixing expert and consultant to the European Lotteries, Frenchman Christian Kalb told seminar delegates: "There are between 5,000 and 10,000 betting companies worldwide. More than 80 percent of the betting sales are illegal. To win this fight, we have to work all together - FIFA, UEFA, other sport federations, the police and the media. It will be a very tough and long fight."

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