Buzzfeed sticks the knife into Tennis integrity

18/01/2016 | By | Reply More

Possibly the most comprehensive document(s) I have ever seen on match fixing emerged last night and are documented in detail on the BuzzFeed site. Called, ‘The Tennis Racket’, is has a provocative headline: –

Betting worth billions. Elite players. Violent threats. Covert messages with Sicilian gamblers. And suspicious matches at Wimbledon. Leaked files expose match-fixing evidence that tennis authorities have kept secret for years.

It’s caused quite a stir, but relates to a period a little while ago. But is none the less a slur on the industry and crystallizes the problem of being successful in this market. People just assume it’s dodgy!

The report itself contains some really interesting documentation from all parties and

How Betfair could have turned a positive into a negative

I think exchanges, with their very high auditing standards, are a good foil against corruption. You have to deposit money upfront, electronically and there is a clear audit trail of every bet placed. The traditional betting industry doesn’t have such clear lines drawn around it’s bets.

Traditional betting companies don’t have an incentive to lose to customers so, as we already know. So dodgy betting patterns are given short shrift. However exchanges do let you win money, so there is an angle for anti-exchange types to stick the knife in. A bigger problem I feel in general though is that the premium charge means Betfair actually profit from people with ‘unfair’ advantages.

Since the introduction of the premium charge, Betfair profit when those exceptional earners also profit and thereby have an incentive to maintain that revenue stream. The incentive for fairness is reduced IMHO. I’m not saying that Betfair are aiding corruption at all. But if, for example, it could be shown that increasing the in-play delay on a sport stopped people from taking advantage of faster pictures, that would probably benefit the industry and smaller punters. However, doing that may open the door for competition who could seed prices off a slower delay, by knowing they won’t get picked off by fast picture players.

Therefore Betfair has a direct incentive to maintain the status quo in this aspect of the market and that’s OK because they profit from it.

I can sort of see the court case now though, or the committee who are deciding whether an exchange should be allowed in their country, “So Mr Betfair, you actively ensure that Mr X is able to exploit this by ensuring he has an edge and by refusing to implement fair access – it can be shown that you also directly profit from this”

Not going to go down well is it! Of course if the Premium charge didn’t exist it would nullify this argument substantially. There has to be a better and fairer way IMHO! We all know that.

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Category: Tennis

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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