Thursday, February 02, 2012

Blog 3: Illegal Betting is an Enormous Problem for Sports and Governments

The International Olympic Committee hosted a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland overnight composed of sports leaders, government ministers, licensed betting operators, lottery companies and the international police agency Interpol.  This meeting is expected to act on a series of recommendations for cracking down on the multi-billion-dollar illegal sports gambling industry.  Sports gambling is a criminal activity that is moving very quickly around the globe.  Interpol has estimate d that illegal betting is worth 140 billion US dollars a year.  Football and cricket, among many other sports, have been rocked by fixing scandals driven by betting scams.  The IOC director-general Christophe De Kepper said one of the proposals to end this illegal activity is to establish a “universal code of conduct” for the Olympic movement, including athletes, judges and referees.  A second proposal is to urge governments to adopt legislation that will make “sports fraud” a criminal offence punishable by criminal prosecution.  In my opinion, these are very good ideas.  At one time, sports were intended to promote teamwork and instill values into the players.  But now, it is difficult to tell who is playing for the game and who is actually not giving their best effort to intentionally rock the game.  These activities are not ethical or noble in any way.   Some may go as far as to say that paying a coach or referee to sway a game a certain way is in fact similar to paying off a government official.  And this is actually something that the majority of the population doesn’t agree with.  So to make these types of activities illegal and punishable by law is a step in the right direction, and I believe will bring back the fun that sports actually brought to teams and their fans at one point in time.  After all, sports are intended for entertainment in the first place.  Aren’t they?

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