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Lawrence Donegan:

Odds-on liquidity showing interest in Scottish youth

Can it really be more than a month since Betfair&#8217-s Mark Davies appeared in print to reject the suggestion that the gambling boom is in any way responsible for the apparent increase in corruption in sport, by pointing out that dodgy dealing has been around since the days of the gladiators? Presumably, reports of 15 football matches from this season being under investigation will see Davis, like Edward Gibbon in a pork-pie hat, return to the fray with another tale from the Colosseum. Meanwhile, far from events at Anfield – figuratively if not geographically – comes news that under-21 games in Scotland are the subject of huge bets by Asian gamblers. Some might think this is a sinister development but not the Betfair spokesman, who told the Daily Record last month that the company would be happy to open a book on the youth sporting market if there was &#8220-liquidity and interest&#8221-.

With all due respect to the Guardian blogger cited above, I side with Mark Davies. See his verbatim, just below.


Mark Davies, BetFair’s Managing Director (Corporate Affairs)

Mark Davies (BetFair’s Managing Director)


Mark Davies interviewed by The Daily Telegraph (in October 2007):

[Tennis] has always been liable to corruption.

I think that all sport has always been liable to corruption, by the very nature of it producing clear results one way or another. They say that chariot races were rigged for financial reward. I don&#8217-t see why subsequent sporting events should suddenly have been less liable to corrupt practice. We would strongly dispute the idea that sport suddenly has a corruption problem because of the boom in gambling.

The amount of money bet in the legal market may have grown — who knows if it has risen or fallen in the illegal one? — but the number of people who can be tempted by that money and use it for corrupt reasons is the same as it always was.

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