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View Full Version : Uh oh, another possible betting scandal


S H O W S T O P P E R !
06-24-2009, 10:03 AM
http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/online-action-alarms-betting-watchdogs/



Who would have thought that a first-round match Tuesday between 109th-ranked Wayne Odesnik of the United States and 30th-ranked Jurgen Melzer of Austria would generate so much buzz?
Wayne OdesnikHugo Philpott/European Pressphoto Agency American Wayne Odesnik, who lost to Jurgen Melzer in the first round of Wimbledon, said he has no connection with a European online gambling site.

The Associated Press reports that the British bookmaker, Betfair.com, alerted authorities after they saw an unusual spike in action. A Betfair spokesman told the A.P. that the online gambling site saw six times the wagers it would normally see on such a match. “Betfair received about $980,000 in wagers on the match,” the A.P. reports. “The average for a first-round match at Wimbledon is less than $163,000.”

This is the second time in two weeks that bookmakers have tipped off tennis authorities and, the Independent in Britain reports, five matches from 2009 are under investigation.

Before the Melzer-Odesnik match, £365,000 was bet on Melzer winning a straight-set victory on short odds, according to the Daily Mail. That is what sounded the alarm for Betfair and the Tennis Integrity Unit: “Reporting what they termed ‘extreme’ gambles on a relatively obscure encounter, they were alerted by a dramatic hardening of the odds in favour of Melzer before and during the match.”

Betfair did not suspend wagering, but Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, two other online betting sites, did stop taking bets an hour before the match began, citing the unusual amount bet on a 3-0 result.

The Betfair spokesman, Mark Davies, said he doesn’t suspect any wrongdoing. But the serious money backing Melzer to win in straight sets was enough to prompt an investigation. The Austrian won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Afterward, when asked about the suspicious betting, Odesnik said he knew nothing of it, according to the Guardian. “It’s only my second time playing here, I’m young, I’m here to play,” he said. “I’m here with my coach and friends and I would never do anything like that to jeopardise my future.”

Apparently rumors that Odesnik was injured, which were circulating online and stoked by a TV commentator, fueled some of the action. The Guardian also reports that Odesnik had been spotted the night before in a London pub (the player said he was there “for dinner”). But Odesnik also confirmed he was not fully fit. “I had a little bit of an injury in my last grass-court tournament this year,” he said.

Odesnik also said he had never been approached about fixing a match. “I know at Wimbledon they have people in betting shops but I have no control over it,” he said. “I’m from the U.S. and if they have been betting on a European site I have no connection with that at all.”


Oh boy, that can't be good.

maximo
06-24-2009, 10:07 AM
I read this in the paper this morning, and do think that Melzer loosing in straight sets convincingly to someone who is ranked more than 50 places below him is very strange...

S H O W S T O P P E R !
06-24-2009, 10:14 AM
I read this in the paper this morning, and do think that Melzer loosing in straight sets convincingly to someone who is ranked more than 50 places below him is very strange...

Betfair got $980,000 of action on that one match. It's pretty suspicious considering that it's a first round match, even if it was Federer v Odesnik.

Raphael
06-24-2009, 10:31 AM
So far tennis has stayed out of the performance enhancing drugs spotlight, for the most part.
If these kinds of questions keep coming up about betting, it could really tarnish this sport. :(

woodrow1029
06-24-2009, 10:34 AM
I read this in the paper this morning, and do think that Melzer loosing in straight sets convincingly to someone who is ranked more than 50 places below him is very strange...
Melzer won in straight sets.

JeMar
06-24-2009, 10:36 AM
Sensationalist journalists trying to make tennis look bad. Here's the other part of the story:

ESPN.com (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/wimbledon09/news/story?id=4282975)

gj011
06-24-2009, 10:38 AM
This is ridiculous. Those betting sites are "raising alerts" any time they have to pay someone.
Melzer beating 80 places lower ranked player in straight sets. What a crime. :shock:

This being said, betting is ruining the sport and should be banned once for all.

JeMar
06-24-2009, 10:38 AM
Quoted from ESPN.com

Wagers draw attention, but that's all
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Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Wagering on a Wimbledon match soared after a TV commentator pointed out that one of the players was injured.

The British bookmaker, Betfair, alerted tennis corruption investigators about unusual betting patterns for the first-round match Tuesday between 109th-ranked Wayne Odesnik of the United States and 30th-ranked Jurgen Melzer of Austria but did not suspect any wrongdoing, spokesman Mark Davies said on Wednesday.

Davies said Betfair received more than six times as many wagers as it would normally receive for such a match. Melzer's odds "shortened significantly," Davies said, after a TV announcer noted shortly before the match that Odesnik had a thigh injury. Melzer won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

Betfair received about $980,000 in wagers on the match, Davies said. The average for a first-round match at Wimbledon is less than $163,000.

"It's being reported as potential corruption, but I don't see it that way at all," Davies told The Associated Press. "I doubt that there was any wrongdoing."

Still, Betfair reported the heavy betting to the International Tennis Federation's integrity unit.

"Because of the transparency ... we pass that info on to the Tennis Integrity Unit," Davies said. "Then they can make a judgment. But having heard the commentary on the match, I don't suspect that this is going to turn out to be any kind of corruption story."

The All England Club referred all questions about the betting to the ITF, which refused to comment. The ITF's Tennis Integrity Unit never comments on an ongoing investigation.

Tennis increased the attention it pays to allegations of match-fixing and players betting on the sport since Betfair voided all wagers on a 2007 match between fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello after suspicious betting patterns emerged. The players were cleared by an ATP investigation.

After Tuesday's betting received widespread coverage in British media, match-fixing was again a hot topic at Wimbledon.

"It has no place in tennis, those kinds of things," Roger Federer said when asked about possible corruption. "But it's hard to control. But I'm sure the ATP and the ITF, we're trying our best to catch those guys, if there are any out there. I think we should have massive bans on those who get caught so they get really scared of doing it."

sureshs
06-24-2009, 11:54 AM
What is out of the ordinary here? Meltzer was higher seeded and expected to win. Odesnick says he was injured, and lost. All this is public info. How can the players help it if people bet on them?