Illegal Gambling Yet to Target London Olympic Games

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Aug/04/2012
Illegal Gambling Yet to Target London Olympic Games

(Reuters) - Illegal gambling has not yet targeted sports during the London 2012 Olympics  after almost a week of competition, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The IOC has set up a monitoring system for illegal gambling on the 26 competitions during the July 27-August 12 Games as it seeks to counter the growing threat in professional sports.

Games athletes and officials are forbidden from betting on the Olympics and Irish sailor Peter O'Leary is the subject of an Olympic investigation into an alleged bet he made on a competitor in a previous competition.

"Our information is that there has been no issue that has raised any concern," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. "So far we have not had any problems.

"We even hear anecdotal evidence that legal betting on the Games is not at a high level."

IOC president Jacques Rogge has warned that illegal betting poses as big a threat to the integrity of sports as doping and could one day hit the Olympics.

The Games, however, are something of a paradox for bookmakers - the biggest event in the sporting calendar attracts a huge global TV audience but is a sideshow for most serious gamblers.

The jailing last year of three Pakistani cricketers in London and the latest match-fixing scandal to afflict Italian soccer have, however, heightened alarm that corruption is undermining top level sport.

"We started monitoring in Beijing (2008), in Vancouver (2010 winter Olympics) and we are monitoring patterns here," Adams said.

Britain's licensed bookmakers have signed up to scrutinize activity during the Games and will channel their findings through the Gambling Commission, the industry regulator.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Justin Palmer)

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