SPORTS LAW AT THE CROSSROADS

€136bn bet on Russia 2018, and no fixed matches to be found

Russia 2018 logo1

August 8 – The 2018 World Cup qualifications were riddled with accusations of match-fixing in Africa in particular – including FIFA for the first time ordering one game to be replayed – but the finals tournament itself was clean.

FIFA has released a report carried out in conjunction its betting monitoring partner Sportradar that found “following an in-depth, qualitative analysis of the overall volume and movement odds within the betting market, no matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia were found to be suspicious of match manipulation or betting fraud.”

An analysis of betting turnover put the total amount wagered on the Russia 2018 World Cup at an estimated €136 billion.

FIFA’s report said: “The average match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia had an estimated global betting turnover of €2.1 billion with the final, between Croatia and France, generating an estimated €7.2 billion in betting turnover worldwide.”

FIFA, because of their charity-based Swiss rules of association, are unable to benefit from the huge amounts of money bet on their competitions. This applies both to betting and pari-mutuel lottery gambling.

Looking at the most popular teams to bet on, Croatia had the highest average betting turnover per match, and were likely a very profitable team for bookmakers, says the report.

The country had opening odds of around 34.0, were the underdog in their victories against Argentina and England and had their Round of 16, Quarter and Semi Final matches all decided during extra time or by penalty shootout – bookmakers settle all match winner bets on the score at 90 minutes, the three draws in those matches would have been the least favoured by bettors

The FIFA analysis is drawn from Sportradar’s data. The company’s Fraud Detection System (FDS) monitored more than 550 betting operators worldwide.

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