Illegal Online Gambling on Football Studied

Published Wednesday, July 01, 2009 -

Serious law enforcement has begun to make an impact into curtailing illegal gambling operations in Europe and Asia.

In the past twenty years football has changed from a popular pastime into a global industry. The expanding economic importance of football and other sports, has drawn the criminal element into the mix.

A report on the sport by the Financial Action Task Force has just been released. It studies the attractiveness of soccer to the dishonest business person. The reason soccer or football as people call it in Europe has been the subject of scrutiny is because it is by far the most watched and played game in the world today. More than 250 million people play and by example the FIFA World Cup final in 2006, attracted over 1 billion viewers. Unfortunately football's regulatory structure has not yet caught up with some of the risks that come with the rapid growth in popularity.

The FATF report examines the soccer sector in economic and social terms providing case examples that identifies areas that could be exploited by those who want to invest illegal money into football. In preparing this report some of the major sports organisations, such as FIFA, UEFA and the International Olympic Committee, were asked to submit data.

Illegal soccer gambling is a serious problem in Asia. A recent Interpol operation provided a snapshot of illegal soccer gambling in Asia. Interpol announced that 1,300 people were arrested on the suspicion they were taking part in illegal soccer gambling. 16 million usd in cash was seized at that time. "While problems linked to betting are not new, it appears that betting in sport has reached new levels of sophistication with various operators involved across several countries and continents and new offshore betting companies being established." the report goes on.

"Due to the fact that most countries have different gambling regulations, the gambling market is non-transparent and is a heterogeneous market with a mix of private and state companies acting both nationally and internationally." The report will certainly give lawmakers and police a base from which to launch their attack on organized criminal activity. These illegal activities cause everyone involved in organized sport to feel cheated in some way or another. The cleaner the sport the better the experience for all.

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