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Olympic organisers target betting syndicates

Organisers for the London 2012 Olympic Games are to set up a specialist intelligence unit to target betting syndicates at this summer’s event.

The unit will monitor suspicious betting patterns and share information on those who attempt to bribe competitors into fixing any aspect of events.

The team will comprise of the International Olympic Committee, Gambling Commission and, if required, the police.

It will specifically target syndicates that may try to ‘spot fix’ events or outcomes within events.

Spot betting involves gamblers staking their money on certain minute details within a sporting contest, for example the exact time a corner will be awarded in a football match.

Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson told The Sunday Times that event fixing had overtaken doping as the Games’ 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 they stop turning up and the whole thing turns to pieces," he said.

Robertson believes that although western betting authorities were well equipped to deal with illegal activities, identifying and regulating betting in the far-east and sub continent would be much more troublesome.

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

Jack Watkins
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