During the first half of 2020, the Global Lottery Management System (GLMS) flagged 178 suspicious betting warnings in Europe with football producing a vast majority of the warnings.
Of the 269 alerts reported during Q1 and Q2, 197 were associated with football, with 137 alerts produced by Europe, followed by 43 in Asia and 7 in North America, respectively. With a total of 27 alerts, basketball followed some way behind, ice hockey on the 18 produced 19 alerts and tennis.
Overall, GLMS reported a year-on-year decrease in the number of suspicious betting warnings it sent to its members, down 38 percent from 432 warnings compared with last year’s same span.
Explaining that corruption had not ended in the wake of the pandemic, GLMS President Ludovico Calvi said: “The cessation of mainstream sport competitions worldwide due to the Covid-19 outbreak has created a window of opportunity for malefactors to exploit and manipulate sports betting across the globe.
“As our sport integrity association reacted promptly to the new and unexpected threats through our Integrity Hubs in Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Montreal, together with members and partners, we have never been so busy as we have in this period in fighting the phenomena of ghost matches and match fixing.
“As a matter of fact, during the last quarter, there was an increased number of cases of “matches” which never actually took place, but were promoted on the web with the goal of profiting at the expense of the unsuspecting public and betting operators.
“Criminal organisations have been very active since the outbreak of Covid-19, seizing any opportunity – even during a pandemic crisis – to further their illicit activities. Additional threats are likely to continue to materialise while sport events resume in a usually quiet sporting period of the year, given that the financial crisis has adversely impacted countless sport organisations globally, which in turn, may increase the level of risk-taking and vulnerability of athletes and sport stakeholders.”
GLMS recorded that 199 warnings were sent prior to the start of a match or event, while eight were sent during an in-play game, and the remaining 62 were sent after the sporting event had ended.
A total of 37 warnings have been marked as ‘red alert’ suggesting a more severe offence. This involves shifts in suspicious odds, betting insider knowledge, match-fixing reports from a source called, or Betfair ‘s unusual volume or betting patterns.
There were 64 ‘yellow alerts’ associated with match-fixing rumours on social media, while an additional 126 were categorised as ‘green alerts’ associated with team news and minor changes in odds.