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UK Alone Could Bet £25m on Beijing Olympics

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Aug/09/2008

Corruption, gambling syndicates and perhaps some "fixes" were all part of the worries that coincided with a report citing the United Kingdom alone could be responsible for some £25m bet on the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing.

The Telegraph quoted Tim Payton, a management consultant whose Mandate Communications company advises sporting governing bodies, who deemed gambling as a serious threat at this year‘s Summer Olympics.

He said: "As the opportunities to bet on sport grows worldwide, governments and athletes will have to work as hard to keep the threat of corruption out of sport as they have with doping in the last 20 years."

Tennis, cricket and soccer have been hit hard in recent years by high profile betting scandals while in the US, the NBA has been grappling with the stark reality that one of its own referees had been betting and allegedly fixing games.

The gambling bug may already be biting UK athletes in Beijing. Oh, the problem is they are not in Beijing but rather the Chinese gambling Mecca of Macau.

Citing the frenetic pace of the Chinese capital and the anticipated crowds that will flock to the Summer Games, British authorities say its team will instead be housed in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that today rivals Las Vegas as a casino haven.

"They will eat, they will train, and they will sleep," Bernard Cotton, the British Olympic Association's performance manager, said of the UK athletes' routine prior to competition. The British team will be "most boring" during this intense period, he said.

As for punters, England's largest betting firm Ladbrokes predicts that betting on the Olympics in the UK is expected to reach £25 million with the worldwide market betting anywhere from £40 m to £100 m. These bets include those originally from Asia. It was unclear if Ladbrokes had factored in bets coming from the US as the company does not accept wagering from United States citizens.

The main sports targeted by punters are football, basketball, swimming and, in athletics, the men's 100 metres, according to the Telegraph report.

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Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com

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