Business

London 2012: Betfair and IOC to monitor Games betting

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium
Image caption The London games are the biggest Olympics market to date for Betfair

Online betting exchange Betfair has agreed a deal to share information with the International Olympic Committee during the London 2012 Games.

They will exchange data about irregular or suspicious betting patterns.

It means the IOC will be able to request the identities of account holders who bet suspiciously, as well as other betting transaction details.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson warned this month about the threat illegal gambling rings could pose to the games.

Mr Robertson said the threat of betting corruption was worse than doping problems.

"You cannot underestimate the threat this poses, because the moment that spectators start to feel that what they are seeing is not a true contest, that is when spectators stop turning up and the whole thing turns to pieces," he told the Sunday Times.

The IOC is also working with the Gambling Commission and the police to tackle illegal betting syndicates during the Games.

'Interests aligned'

Betfair, which signed a similar memorandum of understanding with the IOC in Beijing four years ago, said London 2012 would be its biggest Games to date, with it offering markets on every single gold medal event.

The world's biggest betting exchange will use technology and its team of integrity experts to ensure that any suspicious betting activity is investigated and information passed to the IOC.

Specialised software developed by the firm also helps identify potentially suspicious transactions.

"The interests of sports governing bodies, like the IOC, and Betfair are completely aligned in wanting to ensure consumers can bet on sporting events in a transparent and secure manner," said Martin Cruddace, Betfair's chief legal and regulatory affairs officer.

Race payments

Meanwhile, the firm has agreed to pay some customers after previously voiding all bets on the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown in December.

Odds of 28-1 were quoted to punters on Voler La Vedette during the Christmas Hurdle, despite it being a strong contender pre-race at odds of 13-8.

More than £1.6m was placed at the in-race odds. The horse won the race easily, triggering heavy payouts for Betfair.

The company cancelled all in-race bets, but has since "looked in detail at all the circumstances surrounding the technology failure and the anomaly it created".

It has now decided that certain categories of voided bets will be compensated.

The firm said: "The categories of bets that will be compensated are: in-play winning positions in both the 'win' and the 'to be placed' markets which were achieved before the technology failure; and in-play winning positions in the 'to be placed' market achieved at any time through to the completion of the race.

"Bets matched in the 'win' market after the technology failure will remain void."

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