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betting scandals galore

It hasn't been a great week for the betting industry and sporting integrity. On top of the Pakistan cricket spot-fixing scandal and today's Hereford racing farce, there have been a couple of other sports raising eyebrows.

At the US Open last night, Alexandr Dolgopolov was a huge late drifter from 3.5 out to 7 (losing 0-3 backed into 1.1) and consequently lost in straight sets to David Ferrer, a player he was very competitive against just a few weeks ago. After the match, his poor performance was put down to feeling unwell. Perhaps that's all it was, but it seems as if every man and his dog knew about it and bet accordingly. This kid has far too much talent to waste, but it's not the first match with suspicious betting patterns he has been involved in.

The big story in Australian sport has been in the NRL. Rugby league in Australia has had a few suspicious betting stories over the years, now it sounds like the authorities have finally got their act together and might do something about it. Last year, there were strong allegations that the Sydney Roosters threw the last game of the season (as slight outsiders in the match originally, the win by 13+ margin for their opponents was backed off the map and duly saluted), and in previous years there have been cases of First Tryscorer being backed off the map, particularly in Manly games. People don't bet seriously in the First Tryscorer or First Scoring Play markets unless something is fishy.

This incident was a couple of weeks ago, a match between North Queensland and Canterbury, late in the season, with neither side still able to reach the finals series. In rugby league, penalty goals are unlikely to open the scoring unless it's wet. Tries are the most common way of scoring, unlike rugby union, when a kick is quite regularly the first scoring play. These betting markets usuallly attract only a handful of bets, and nothing of serious note. However, when lumpy bets started coming in on Nth Qld penalty goal at 8.0 with bookmakers around Australia, bookies all smelt a rat. After the first few bets, particularly from punters betting 10x their normal bet size, or from punters who have prior history of being involved in games of questionable integrity, bookies pulled the market down.

Interestingly, North Queensland had the option of getting off the mark by scoring with a penalty goal, but elected to go for a try instead. My guess is they'd been tipped off that people were watching very closely. They certainly are now...

Top cops tackle betting scandal

Player agent is part of NRL bet probe


Last year it took the Victorian Government's Gambling and Corruption body to get involved to force the NRL to investigate. This year it seems they have gotten the hint, but whether anything comes of it in the form of harsh penalties is another matter.

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