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Are Sports Really Fixed?

We have all heard of sports matches being fixed, a referee being bought, a player betting on the other team. Not to mention seeing something happen during a match that just does not look right; we go straight to thinking someone is cheating. There are always incidents in each sports and all levels of play. Each sport comes with different levels of competition, as well as different views on what fixing a match could be.

Every sport lends itself to scrutiny and with such large fan bases; it is always kept under watchful eye. When something out of the ordinary happens, it normally gets blamed on ‘fixing’. One of the main problems that has a big effect and actually compels corruption and match fixing is simply greed. The most often way for sports fixing to be rewarded is through sports betting, but not legitimate sports betting, but bets placed with underground bookmakers. While the temptation would be to find a solution to this problem by making sports betting illegal, this doesn’t actually solve the problem, but it actually makes it worse.

Sports Controversies

We have a great many different sports in India, including cricket, tennis, and football, which are highly competitive. These sports are perfect for betting. Who does not like to wager on their favorite team? There has been no shortage of controversy over the years in various sports.

The IPL is one such league that has lent itself to a lot of controversy over certain actions that players take in attempt to fix a game. One of the main ways to fix a cricket match is by spot-fixing, where only small portions of the game are fixed. Cricket players have been known to throw the ball wide, or the batter missing the delivery. Just recently the BCCI has suspended 5 players for spot-fixing, and each are on different teams. It has become a growing problem, as fans start to distrust anything and everything about the sport they love.

It should be noted, that not every wild ball or miss means the match is fixed, but it tends to be the first suspicion among fans.

Accusations and Probes

One of the main ways that the BCCI and the ICC know and deal with the spot-fixing during cricket matches is by receiving accusations from others. They would then review any material necessary to investigate and probe into whether the accusations are true or not. The ICC arrived in India on October 2012 to deal with an accusation of international umpires fixing games.

This is one way to start the process of finding those that are guilty of fixing games, but the real problem is that it takes a long time, and the problem does not go away even after finding one guilty person or party.

Main Problem of Sport Fixing

The main problem whenever we see a match being fixed is due to money. Sports satta is essentially banned and illegal, making it risky, but highly profitable. This is why in so many of the different sports and leagues in India are always under scrutiny by their fans and regulating bodies. When players, refs or umpires decide to fix a game, it is usually to make a nice profit from what the bookmakers are posting. In a country that makes sports gambling illegal and has no way of backing this up, it is truly problematic.

Fixing the Problem

Excuse my play on words, but we need to fix the fixing. There is one method that has worked in different countries around the world, and that is to formally legalize sports betting offline and online (if illegal). You may say that this will not change anything, but in fact it does. There are a couple reasons why this will help lower the amount of fixed matches:

• Legalized betting results in better and more enforceable regulation. With everything being legalized, it will all be out in the open, for everyone to see, while profiting from the taxes. Legitimate bookmakers are much more likely to cooperate with law enforcement to find cases of match fixing than illegal bookmakers.

• Higher likelihood of getting caught. With all of the information readily available to anyone will increase the person’s risk of fixing a game. If you knew exactly what the odds were for a team winning, based on all of the facts and statistics, and something outrageous happens, we can tell something is going on. All we have to do is follow the smoke trail and we will find the fire.

• Illegal betting leads to greater problems. When sports fans place larger than life wagers on certain sporting events, there is bound to be bad blood when and if they lose. This would cause social problems that could not be addressed openly. Same goes for being addicted to gambling, if it isn’t open to everyone, those with problems will not receive the help they need.

• It will bring in more money. The simple fact is that legalizing sports betting will benefit the country by increasing the amount of incoming money. They can actually regulate the gambling industry and make it so that fixing games will not be as profitable.

A great example of what legalizing sports betting has done is the UK. Thanks to their efforts, they have managed to mix sports betting into the country’s GDP, and has been able to regulate it much better than before. Take a look at the opposite end, with the U.S., they still have strict laws making sports gambling illegal. They also have one of the highest incidents of sports fixing in the world, as their main sports like the NFL and NBA are always met with skeptical eyes. While they won’t completely eliminate match fixing, legalization and regulation of sports betting are prime ways of reducing sport fixing anywhere in the world, and in our case, in India too.