Internet betting enters criminal domain
The rise in number of illegal sports betting websites is heightening concerns among authorities about global corruption, money laundering and gambling addiction.india Updated: May 27, 2008 13:51 IST
The rapidly mushrooming number of illegal sports betting websites is heightening concerns among authorities about global corruption, money laundering and gambling addiction.
There are now an estimated 15,000 such sites on the World Wide Web, including some 13,000 illegal ones, shuffling around $23.6 billion a year, according to the authorities.
These dizzying figures have finally stung sports authorities into action.
Late last year, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge compared the gambling issue to the gangrene caused by doping in sports.
He proposed the creation of a world surveillance agency based on the model of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which leads the fight against drugs in sport.
The explosion of Internet sports betting, which has flowed across national borders that previously confined gamblers, has created a virtual market that is controlled mostly from Asia.
On these sites, gamblers have been known to lose large sums of money, either fairly or increasingly as victims of fraud, a trend that is threatening the credibility of sport.
Declan Hill, a journalist and British expert on the problem, says the amount of corruption in global sports has increased almost 100-fold in the past five years thanks to Internet-based gambling.
"Ten years ago, national lotteries controlled 100 per cent of the sports (betting) market," Hill said.