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What effect does Match-Fixing have on the world's major sports?

What effect does Match-Fixing have on the world's major sports?
What Is Match Fixing and Why Should We Care? In the United States of America, sports betting has been illegal for decades. One of the main goals of this prohibition was, seemingly, to "protect the integrity of sports" or, in other words, to prevent match-fixing. This doesn't mean that the phenomenon disappeared from the US. On the contrary: cases related to betting that range from point-shaving to bribery and Zlatan's controversial sponsorship deal where he became a shareholder at a sports betting business while playing for LA Galaxy have been unveiled in pretty much every sport you can think of. But what is match-fixing, how does it hurt the world of sports, and why should we care?


What is match-fixing?


Imagine how great it was for you to know the result of every single football match before placing a bet on them. Your life would be a string of wins, and money would flow your way continuously. While there is no way to predict the outcome of a match with a 100% accuracy, there is one way to make sure the odds are always in the punter's favor: influencing the outcome of the match. This can be done in many ways, usually involving bribes paid to players or referees - and it is, of course, illegal. And it is also immoral, taking the fair play out of the sport.

Forms of match-fixing


One of the most common forms of fixing matches involving an individual athlete - like boxing, wrestling, tennis, and such - is to bribe a player, usually the one with the better odds, to lose. In this case, those fixing the match place a bet on the underdog (usually with a much bigger payoff) and when he or she wins, they cash out big time. This is a pretty old form of match-fixing and it's rather easy to detect when taking a look at betting patterns. When it comes to teams, the forms of match-fixing can be more subtle and can involve more parties. For example, a player with a high success rate can be bribed to miss a penalty, to withdraw before the end of the game for whatever reason, or to eat a pie at half time, like in the case of Wayne Shaw, a former Sutton United goalkeeper. It sometimes involves the referee or other officials that deliberately misinterpret or misapply regulations to favor one team or another ("not noticing" fouls or granting penalties when they are not due, for example).

Do regulated bookmakers fix matches?


Absolutely not. Bookmakers have their own methods of determining the most likely outcome of an event, and they set their odds accordingly. They adhere to strict regulations meant to protect the integrity of sports and they don't interfere with them - their livelihood depends on this, after all. Some of the major international betting groups have even formed an association called ESSA Sports Betting Integrity meant to detect match-fixing and report it to authorities, thus doing their part in keeping sports clean and fair at all times. Unregulated, underground bookmakers - like the many that have emerged in the US during its two-decade prohibition - are another matter altogether.
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Article Added: 15 Mar 2019, 18:10 pm GMT
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