The Olympic Games are just around the corner at making certain that no unauthorized and illegal gambling occurs during the event is just one of many sizeable challenges the authorities will have to contend with this summer. Luckily for them though, they won't have to do it alone. It was only a few months ago that International Olympics Committee (IOC) reeled in the help of several top bookmakers in the United Kingdom to ensure that illegal betting does not become a serious issue during the games, due to start in one months’ time.
The meeting was held in March involving the IOC, top bookies Betfair, Ladbrokes, William Hill, and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission alongside the department for Culture, Media and Sport. The bookmakers had persuaded the other parties that betting on the Olympics was generally a small thing, with the events not drawing in too much of a crowd for the bookies, but that they would nonetheless share information with the International Olympics Committee to ensure that fair play is upheld and that there is no illegal gambling of any kind during the games.
However the issue has been brought to the table once more as the games draw near, with the IOC particularly keen on ensuring that no athletes, coaches or teams are permitted to wager during the games to avoid a game-fixing scenario that has rocked other countries in recent months, such as Pakistan and South Korea. With assurances once more from the bookmakers that any suspicious activity will be looked into and reported back to the IOC, the committee has now found themselves with the additional help of Interpol who are now on board to investigate cases of corruption, match fixing and cheating at the games. This is a rather big player being brought in to monitor something as trivial as a sporting event, one might add.
It has been reported that the IOC would generally prefer a total clampdown on all illegal betting operations but of course this is a foolhardy wish. No such operation could possibly shut down all illegal betting stations throughout the United Kingdom, let alone the world. It is widely thought that with the advent of mobile betting, and online sportsbooks that the opportunities for private bookies to offer stakes on the black on sporting events will be dramatically cut. However nothing is guaranteed of course and the threat of black market betting will always persist.
For the moment it seems that the IOC is far more concerned about ensuring that their competing athletes and teams don't try to fix an event for financial gain, rather than worry about whether or not Ladbrokes or William Hill for instance rake in a bounty with punters betting on the games, which again is unlikely. With Interpol now on board to assist the punter watchers, illegal betting at this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games, may very well be a thing of the past.