Sports betting is a form of gambling involving the placements of wagers, also known as bets, on the results of a sporting event. The degree of sports betting depends across several cultures, but by far the majority of bets get placed on popular sporting events such as American football, baseball, auto racing, basketball, track cycling, boxing, hockey, and mixed martial arts. These events are covered at beginner and professional levels. Sportsbetting can also feature non-athletic occasions, such as political contests, reality shows, current affairs, and non-human entertainment such as greyhound and horse racing in addition to underground cockfighting that’s considered illegal. It is not strange for online bookies to offer bets for novelty events such as the Emmy Awards, the Oscars, and the Grammy Awards.
Bettors place their wagers either through reputable licensed sportsbook/bookmakers or through illegitimately privately-run platforms. In this context, the word “book” refers to a ledger used by bet agents to monitor bets, winnings, and liabilities. A majority of law-abiding sportsbooks are found online and run their business over the web from different jurisdiction from their clients’ location. The main purpose of this is to bypass several gambling regulations –such as the United States Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006- in specific markets like Nevada, Las Vegas, or even on self-serve casino cruise betting kiosks. Legal bookmakers demand players to pay “up-front” before placing a wager. On the other hand, underhand bookies can administer their business from virtually anywhere but only take money from lost bets. Still, these illegal bookmakers, unlike the lawful ones don’t need the wagered funds to be paid upfront, an aspect that creates chances of debts to the bookmaker from the players. The result is that criminal elements arise, piling problems to the already existing legality challenges.
Sports betting scandals have been and sadly continue plaguing the sportsmanship of several sporting events across the globe. Some of the commonly reported acts include point-shaving which is characterized by players influencing the score through deliberately missing shots and spot-fixing where the actions of a player are predetermined. Others include unfair calls from match officials at crucial moments and match-fixing where the entire event is fixed. The 1919 World Series serves as an apt example with the instance of the purported –and later confessed- unlawful betting of Pete Rose, a former MLB player and that of Tim Donaghy, a former NBA referee. The epitome of sports betting scandal was the NBA Championship games held in 2002. Tim Donaghy, who was amongst the referees for the event, was presumed of placing spread bets for games that he oversaw. Upon completion of his trial, Tim released a damning statement to the public disclosing rigging of Game six of the classic 2002 NBA Western Conference finals. Game six 2002 finals remain to be the most controversial game in NBA history.