London 2012: Olympics betting event fixers targeted

 
Aerial view of the Olympic Stadium in east London People will be able to report any suspicious activity via an "email hotline", the government says

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Olympics organisers are to set up a dedicated intelligence unit to target betting syndicates at the London Games.

The specialist team will monitor suspicious betting patterns and share intelligence on those who attempt to bribe athletes into fixing events.

It will comprise the International Olympic Committee, Gambling Commission and if required, the police.

Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson told the Sunday Times fixing had overtaken doping as the event's biggest threat.

"You cannot underestimate the threat this poses because the moment that spectators start to feel that what they are seeing is not a true contest, that is when spectators stop turning up and the whole thing turns to pieces," he said.

"At some stage over the next two or three years, we will have some other sort of betting scandal in some sport. I just hope it's not at the Olympics."

The intelligence unit will target syndicates who may try to "spot fix" events or outcomes within matches.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

Mr Robertson said Western betting authorities were well equipped to identify illegal activities, but criticised regulation in the Far East and sub-continent.

Explaining how the unit would operate, he told the BBC: "We have a very sophisticated information sharing system, so the moment there is any spike in betting activities that is recorded and investigated.

"We're reasonably clear that we can police the UK end of it. The much more difficult element is how you police illegal syndicates probably operating a long way away from these shores."

In November, three Pakistani cricketers were jailed for spot fixing during a 2010 Test match against England.

Spot betting involves gamblers staking money on the minutiae of sporting encounters, such as the exact timing of the first throw-in during a football match.

The Department for Culture Media and Sport said the new unit would be operational throughout the 2012 Games.

A spokesman said: "It will be able to obtain and draw on information and intelligence from various sources including the Betting Commission, national Olympic commissions and Interpol on any suspicious betting patterns or intelligence surrounding match fixing."

He said the department had also consulted on making changes to the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure the Gambling Commission could share intelligence from police and other agencies.

People will be able to report any suspicious activity via an "email hotline", he added.

 

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  • rate this
    -27

    Comment number 44.

    For goodness sake, talk about doom and gloom. Can we please stop dumbing down this country and start to big it up a bit. Yes, the costs are high (wages to workers), yes London is the city having to pay but is also the city which will benefit the most, yes not everyone is interested in sport but for the love of god lets enjoy the spectacle - if you don't like it don't watch. I for one can't wait!

  • rate this
    +44

    Comment number 40.

    I avoid watching any of the Olympics,regardless where they're held.The whole olympic ideal no longer exists.It was supposed to be about amateur athletes doing their best.Now its all about professional athletes,sponsored to the tune of millions and for what?Like football,big money has ruined the games and I for one will not watch any of it.London will be paying for these games for decades to come.

  • rate this
    +40

    Comment number 9.

    Is there any way we can es business.cape the the monotony that is about to be imposed upon us. Nine billion pounds being wasted, at a time we can't afford it. Useless politicians allowing themselves to be seen. Sport lovers cheated out of tickets by big business. How many offers of Olympic tickets have we seen? All athletes tainted by the cheats. What a farce.

 
 

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