What is Sports betting?
Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. The number of sports bet upon varies by culture, with the vast majority of bets being placed on association football, American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, auto racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing at both the amateur and professional levels.
Sports betting can also be described as a form of gambling that entails placing a wager, also known as a bet, on the outcome of a sporting event. The primary intent of sports betting is to win additional money.
There are different sport betting companies and one of the popular ones around the world is Betway which has published a piece on how to put money into your betting account.
The financial aspect
Sports betting is a growing industry and has become an integral tool for profiting from fixed matches. According to the European Gaming & Betting Association, regulated betting accounts for some $58 billion yearly and is forecast to reach $70 billion in 2016, with football (soccer in North America) accounting for about 70-85% of the bets placed (EGBA, 2014).
Economic models of match fixing predict that referees are prime candidates for corruption, since they can exert a strong influence on match outcomes and receive relatively low levels of compensation. Betting exchange markets provide convenient, highly liquid markets where match fixers can profit from influence on outcomes in sporting events. Previous match fixing scandals contain evidence that referees are sometimes involved in match fixing scandals.
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision to strike down a federal ban on sports betting. The move, although not legalizing gambling across the country, grants states the autonomy to make the decision for themselves if they want sports betting legalized or not. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 put a federal ban on state-authorized sports gambling in every state that did not already legalize sports betting by the 1991 deadline.
In Albania, the parliament passed a law banning sports betting and other forms of gambling in the country from 2019. Albanians reportedly spent 132m on gambling in 2017 – a 10% year-on-year increase.
Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commission on behalf of the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the Gambling Act 2005.
Match fixing, or manipulation of sport competitions means an intentional arrangement, act or omission aimed at an improper alteration of the result or the course of a sport competition in order to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the aforementioned sport competition with a view to obtaining an undue advantage for oneself or for others.
In 1964, the great British football betting scandal of the 1960s was uncovered. A betting ring organized by Jimmy Gauld and involving several Football League players had been fixing matches. The most famous incident involved three Sheffield Wednesday players, including two England international players, who were subsequently banned from football for life and imprisoned after it was discovered they had bet against their team winning in a match against Ipswich Town.
In July 2005, Italian Serie B champions Genoa was placed last in the division by the sporting justice, and therefore condemned to relegation in Serie C1, after it was revealed that they bribed their opponents in the final match of the season, Venezia to throw the match. His president Enrico Preziozi was banned for five years after being guilty by the sporting justice. Genoa won the match 3–2 and had apparently secured promotion to Serie A.
In 2011, Tampere, Finland’s former champions were suspended. The club received $435,000 from a Singapore company, but officials could not explain why they had been given such a large sum. Money-laundering is suspected.
Sports betting, cannot be alienated from matching fixing. One of the important aspects of sports betting is the prediction of action, (or inactions) which would occur in football matches. For example, the number of goals scored, or freekicks, and sometimes the player who would score. However, referees are usually involved in the fixing of matches, by making various calls. Robert Hoyzer, a Bundesliga referee, was found guilty of fixing 23 Bundesliga matches and convicted of fraud. He was caught after a number of egregious calls, including awarding two penalties to SC Paderborn in a surprising 4-2 win after trailing 0-2 in a 2004 match against Hamburg and ejecting Hamburg’s star striker for misconduct. Hoyer implicated Sapina as the source of his bribes, but Sapina was not prosecuted until years later.
In Nigeria, although there have been claims of match fixing, many of such claims have not been investigated or proven. However, referees have been regularly accused of giving home teams controversial calls at important moments in a match – usually giving penalty calls in extra minutes, or adding extra minutes to the game till the home team scores.
Sports betting seems to be an accepted idea in the society at large. However, for the sake of transparency in sports, the question is, should sports betting be banned?
Ayomide ‘Toba Eribake is a 400 level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. He is a Sports Law enthusiast, and also has interests in Human Rights, ADR. He also loves researching and reading various subjects of interest.