Sports Betting is a Trillion Dollar Industry
May 29, 2012
A paid prostitute?
Sports Betting is a trillion dollar industry. Much of it is corrupted.
How much is a trillion dollars? It is a million of millions, or $1,000,000,000,000. This is the amount that sports punters spend annually on legal and illegal bets, which include wagering under the table, doing it at betting shops, online or via mobile sports betting sites accessible with smartphones.
This amount is close to the gross domestic product of the entire African continent as sports betting news indicate. Industry experts estimate that nearly 70% of this amount is spend on football (soccer) matches. As FIFA recognizes over 200 national federations, and there are tens of thousands of clubs, the opportunities to bet on the world’s most popular sport are limitless.
Unfortunately, some of the football matches are fixed, which is equivalent to theft as legitimate bettors are deprived of their wins. Even top athletes or referees get involved. One example is the first Chinese referee in the World Cup match. The man was sentenced to over five years in prison for taking $130,000 in bribes in order to fix the Chinese league matches.
Football spectators often see red cards that shouldn’t be given or out-of-the-blue penalty kicks. How about legitimate goals declared as off-sides? Are referees blind? Or have they taken bribes? One of the ways to fix the problem is to stop football games and watch video footage if a team challenges the ruling. While this is prevalent in sports such as tennis, the football officials seem to oppose it. Is it because then it will be tougher to fix the matches?
The football match-fixing became such a massive international activity that its revenues approach those of drug trafficking, sales of weapons, or prostitution. The match-fixing syndicates are international organizations and their reach is worldwide. It affects all the punters even those in rich countries placing sports bets over the Internet.
We wonder, will the upcoming Euro 2012 see its share of funny referee decisions or weird plays? We’d be surprised if it did not.