One of the largest sports betting integrity monitoring services in the world said it had uncovered more fixed bets than ever in 2021, resulting in over $180 million in match-fixing winnings.
Sportradar, a global data company providing fraud detection for sportsbook and professional sports leagues, brought out a report on its results from calendar year 2021. In that report, the company uncovered “suspicious activity” in 903 games from 10 different sports in 76 different countries last year – that’s more than 500,000 events tracked.
The estimated amount generated by the suspicious betting activities was over $180 million and is likely higher due to illegal sports betting and unregulated markets.
The increase shouldn’t come as a surprise. As several states legalized wagering across the country, more markets and wagers were prosecuted. Overall, Sportradar saw a 2.4% increase in suspicious activity over the course of 2020.
“There is no easy short-term solution to the match-fixing problem and we will likely see a similar number of suspicious matches, if not more, in 2022,” said Andreas Krannich, managing director of Sportradar Integrity Services.
“As the market has evolved, so has the threat of match-fixing. Now potential corrupters are taking a more direct approach to match-fixing and betting corruption by notifying athletes directly through social media platforms.”
Krannich believes educating athletes about match-fixing will play a role in limiting it, as will increased sanctions against those caught.
Sportradar and its partners in sports betting and leagues imposed a total of 65 sanctions in 2021, 15 of which were criminal. Eight athletes were subsequently banned for life.
In January, an Arsenal player was investigated for possible match-fixing.
Most cases occur in soccer, especially lower-level soccer. Half of the cases were from the third stage or below. The other two sports with the most suspicious incidents were esports and basketball.
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