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The Secret World of Tennis Gambling

The Secret World of Tennis Gambling

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by Federico Coppini

It’s no secret that gambling has become far more accessible in recent years. With the accessibility of the profile of gambling growing exponentially, it’s no wonder that some of the more sinister aspects of betting are also on the rise.

Nowhere is this more keenly found than in sports gambling.

What’s more surprising is the viability of one sport in particular for throwing matches and thus skewing pay outs. That sport? Tennis.

Every time a major tournament becomes televised we fall in love with the sport all over again.

Even those of us who have never played a game in our lives begin consulting articles in order to not only make ourselves better players but better viewers. Surely with more knowledge we could be more adept betters? Sadly many games are already decided way before the players have even stepped on to the court.

Tennis is uniquely suited to match fixing.

Consumers will bet on anything from a tournament to games and even single points. With such small margins it is nearly impossible to police whether or not a player is intentionally throwing points on purpose.

Although to the untrained eye tennis would appear to be a particularly lucrative sport- it is not always so.

Top players in both the ATP and the Women’s Tennis Association can carry off millions in tournament winnings in particular cleared a cool $67 million dollars between June 2014- June 2015 in winnings, endorsements, appearances and exhibitions.

However, tennis is also an extremely expensive to compete in. For those who aren’t in the top rankings, players can actually be operating at a loss in an attempt to secure winnings. A full time coach costs around $50, 000 dollars per year whilst tour expenses can be anything up to $100,000.

It’s easy to see why tennis players who are good but will never be world class could see working for match fixers to be not only a lucrative but also more stable way to earn.

The association tasked with eradicating this behaviour is the TIU.

Although they have levied fines and even handed out lifetime bans due to the finding of corruption, so much about their processes and investigations are unknown that we can never really quantify the scale of their operations.

One study did try however. Ryan Rodenberg and Elihu Fuestel in 2014, concluded in their analysis that around 1 percent of all tennis matches are fixed. There is concern that due to the Tennis Integrity Unit’s failure to convict any high profile players and its lack of clear, publicly accessible records that the unit is simply not doing all within its power to lessen the level of corruption in the sport.

The TIU undoubtedly have a very difficult task ahead.

Finding those partaking in match fixing is one thing, but amending the model which makes the sport so susceptible to corruption in the first place is quite another. Tennis operates on a match structure which makes it extremely hard to monitor integrity whilst the remuneration for players who remain in the lower levels of the sport will never quite cover the expenses accrued in competing in such a lavish sport.

If tennis isn’t for you then you’ll be happy to know there are a whole host where consumers can hit paypal casinos instead.

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