Over $180 Million Generated From Fixed Matches as Identified Cases Rise Amid Increase in Legal Sports Betting

Over $180 Million Generated From Fixed Matches as Identified Cases Rise Amid Increase in Legal Sports Betting article feature image

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: Soccer stadium

One of the biggest sports betting integrity monitoring services in the world said it detected more fixed bets than ever in 2021, resulting in over $180 million in match-fixing profit.

Sportradar, a global data company that provides fraud detection for sportsbooks and professional sports leagues, released a report on its findings from the 2021 calendar year. In that report, the company uncovered 'suspicious activity' in 903 matches last year from 10 different sports in 76 different countries – that's out of over 500,000 events tracked.

The amount estimated generated from the suspicious betting activity was over $180 million and likely higher from illegal sports betting and unregulated markets.

The increase should not be a surprise. With multiple states legalizing betting across the country, more markets and bets were tracked. In total, Sportradar found a 2.4% increase in the suspicious activity over 2020.

"There is no easy short-term solution to the match-fixing issue, and we’re likely to see similar numbers of suspicious matches in 2022, if not more," Sportradar Integrity Services Managing Director Andreas Krannich said.

"As the market has developed, so the threat of match fixing has evolved. Now, would-be corruptors take an increasingly direct approach to match-fixing and betting corruption, with athletes messaged directly via social-media platforms."

Krannich believes educating athletes on match fixing will play a role in limiting it, as well as increased sanctions against those caught.

Sportradar and its partners in sportsbooks and leagues issued 65 total sanctions in 2021, 15 being criminal. Eight athletes received lifetime bans as a result.

In January, an Arsenal player was under investigation for possible match-fixing.

The majority of cases happen in soccer, specifically lower-level soccer. Half of the cases came from third tier or lower. The other two sports with the most suspicious instances were esports and basketball.

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