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  • Writer's pictureKen Yormark

Fraud in the Sports Industry

I wrote about the risk of fraud in sports in the previous article below. This Sunday's New York Times had an article that discusses how the NFL on Friday handed down some of the strictest penalties it has ever issued, banning three players for at least the 2023 season for betting on N.F.L. games and suspending two others for six games for other violations of the league’s betting policy. The scale of the latest scandal and the terse verdict from the league rekindle questions about the precarious line the N.F.L. is trying to walk on gambling. For the full story use this link //

It's not just the NFL. All sports leagues are exposed and need to monitor their participants.

With the field of 68 set and March Madness starting, a massive contingent of casual and hardcore bettors are turning their TVs on and flocking to sports bars to watch the action.

A new survey from the American Gaming Association finds that 68 million American adults — or roughly a quarter of that population — plan to bet a total of $15.5 billion on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

Within that figure, 56.3 million plan to enter a bracket contest, 21.5 million plan to bet casually with friends, and 31 million plan to place a traditional bet online, at a retail sportsbook, or with a bookie.

It’s four years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on online sports betting and states continue to legalize it. The rationale for its legalization was to provide a regulated and transparent environment for betting, minimize the risks of fraud and corruption, and provide a revenue source for the government.

With more money at stake, you have a greater risk of fraud. Men and women athletes, coaches, and officials making little or no money could be offered large sums to affect the score of a game. They don’t even have to lose the game. Proposition bets are wagers made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event during a game, for example; how many three-pointers will be made or field goals will be kicked. They are easy to bet on and do not affect the game's outcome. A player could easily rationalize that it doesn't affect the game result and doesn't hurt the team.

Regulators and sports organizations should exchange expertise and knowledge to improve their understanding of the risks and trends in sports betting. This should include creating training programs and sharing data on betting patterns, unusual betting behavior, or individuals with a history that causes concern.

Leagues should be doing whatever is necessary to maintain the integrity of their sport. There have been scandals in the past and the risk is greater than ever that it will happen again. The opportunities need to be squelched with strong controls to maintain the integrity of the sports leagues we love.

I participated in a podcast with RANE’s Chief Collaborative Officer, David Lawrence where we discussed this issue. You can find it on the RANE website.

For more information email me at

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