Why bookmakers don’t fix matches

It’s Sunday night, and punters worldwide are contemplating their weekend betting results. Once again, quite a few favourites failed to deliver. Some results, like Real Madrid losing at home to Eibar or Liverpool conceding 7 goals from Aston Villa, seem so unbelievable that they leave people in disbelief. This is the perfect time for the age-old conspiracy theory to appear: “The darn bookie fixed the results to steal my money”.

No, we are not exaggerating. Simply look at the social media after a matchday with inconsistent results. You’ll find a whole bunch of comments containing the words “fixed match” and "these scam betting sites have ruined football" all around. It’s not that everyone truly believes this, nor could they prove their allegations. It's just easier to blame a wrong choice on someone else.

The belief that global and backstreet bookmakers are arranging who will win a local derby or if an own goal will be scored in injury time is all too familiar. The funny thing is that if you ever told this to a bookie owner, he would answer that it is nothing but pure nonsense. Bookmakers not only refrain from fixing matches, but they have also sworn enemies of match-fixers. Let’s see why.

Match fixing of the past

Who has won the event in the pastLet’s clear this out from the start: It is an undeniable truth that match-fixing takes place in sports. Similar to anything else in everyday life, legality and morality can be bought for the right price. Let’s examine some of the most notable fixing scandals of the past in this historical betting guide for beginners.

Cialciopoli: Who can forget the Italian scandal revealed in 2006 that shook the football world? Top names in the Serie A, Juventus, Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina and Reggina, were found guilty of manipulating match results by the Sporting Court. Titles were stripped, points were deducted and some teams were even relegated to Serie B.

Plateau United & Police Machine: Personally, one of my all-time favourites, but you are probably not familiar with this incident. In 2013, Plateau United Feeders and Police Machine aimed to promote to Nigeria’s professional leagues. Dead-tied, the objective for both during the final matchday was to score more goals than their opponent.

At the half, Plateau United was up 7-0 against Akurba FC, while Police Machine was 6-0 up against Babayaro FC. The second half was one for the record books. Plateau United somehow managed to net 72 second-half goals to earn a 79-0 victory, while Police Machine only scored 67 goals in total. Eventually, authorities banned all the teams involved for ten years.

Tim Donaghy: Tim Donaghy was a referee in the NBA that was found guilty of betting on basketball games that he was officiating as well as manipulating the final result. He was using his personal connections and knowledge to pick the teams that he thought were closer to prevailing. After an investigation by the FBI, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in jail. Of course, all bettors who have backed the opposite result of the matches that he was in charge of were never reimbursed.

Where in this mix are the bookies

Which daily bets can I place  2You might have noticed from the examples above that bookmakers are nowhere near these scandals. The oldest quote on corruption comes from the Romans when Cicero said, "there is no fortress so strong that money cannot take it". However, there's a huge difference between questioning a result's transparency and being quick to label every single match as fixed.

You may be wondering how sportsbooks fit into this. It's quite simple. Bookmakers don’t fix matches because they don’t have to. When it comes to betting, nearly every weapon is on their side. The most powerful one in their arsenal is the VIG: that small percentage of money that they get regardless of the result. Click here for more info about what is the VIG in betting.

Apart from this, they can use countless other ways to cut their losses or increase profits. Rejecting a bet, lowering the amount you can stake, removing betting markets, or even placing a counter-wager on other bookmakers or betting exchanges. Now ask yourself in full honesty: If you had all these weapons, would you risk the profits of a trustworthy long-term reputation just to get a short-term profit from a single match? Yeah, neither would we.

Bookmakers win in the long run 

Winning with our EuroCup Predictions Let’s take a look from another perspective. According to the law of large numbers, under normal circumstances, the bookie will always win in the long run. Perhaps it might lose some money during a week or so, but when the quarterly reports run in, it will most likely be in the green. A site will offer tens of thousands of bets, meaning that all he cares about is balancing the total amount staked to guarantee a higher profit from the rake.

A fixed match is considered a “violent intervention” to the normal state of affairs. Although awarding a hefty cash reward to a match-fixing syndicate will not bankrupt a sportsbook, it can lead to a huge loss in their revenue. This is why they are nowadays at the front-run of match-fixing investigations. They will notify and provide the necessary figures to those authorities responsible for combating this trend.

They will offer details on the amounts placed on certain wagers as well as the identity of the persons involved. Transparency is a vital part of a bookmaker’s review. Whenever a bookie observes an unusual activity, they sound an industry-wide alarm. For example, large amounts of money on a minor league match or an influx of bets on high-paying choices such as half-time comebacks or correct scores.

The anti-fixing coalition

Paysafecard restricted countriesAlmost every bookie in the industry has joined this coalition. They employ financial experts and risk managers and use sophisticated software that allows them to instantly know the identity and amount behind each choice. This lets them evaluate whether or not a match should be considered suspicious or not. The more details a bookie shares, for example, receiving a disproportionate amount of wagers, the more accurate the investigation will be.

Moreover, similar to bonus hunters and arbers, individuals involved in match-fixing are usually banned from every site, as there’s an informal “black list” that includes names, IDs and financial details. How about the exact opposite? Starting an investigation about a bet that was NOT confirmed? That’s an initiative all bettors would like to see. The authorities would look for big money being placed on certain bets that were never won.

After all, this is the reason bookies are blamed for. Although this would certainly make things more transparent and appease all of us, it is nearly impossible to pull through. Doing this would start a never-ending procedure where winning players would be vilified as match fixers and every single upset would appear as having been manipulated. The cases would be so many, that the authorities would end up chasing shadows. Nonetheless, click here if you are wondering how to file a complaint against a bookmaker.

What can you do about fixed matches?

Payoneer spyUnless you happen to know for certain that a match is fixed, there is no way of finding or avoiding fixed games. As you can see, they are everywhere, from 3rd Tier regional matches to top leagues like the NBA or the Italian Serie A. Naive as it may sound, it's best to follow Thomas Gray's poetic verse, “ignorance is bliss”. The less you know about fixed matches, the more enjoyable and profitable betting will be.

Just make sure you are playing on high-odds betting sites; everything else is moot. If you place bets on various leagues and matches, it's inevitable you'll bump into such games. Sometimes you’ll lose, sometimes you'll win and most likely, you will never know whether a match was fixed or not. The only thing you can do is try to stay away from leagues with a bad reputation and stick to your existing betting strategy. Below, you can find a list of the safest online bookmakers.

Q: Is match-fixing real?

As real as the air you breathe. When money is involved, everything else is thrown out the window. There have been numerous examples and incidents in the past, some confirmed and some others not. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it.

Q: Do bookmakers fix matches?

The answer, even if you disagree, is no. They don’t need to, simple as that. Because they incorporate the VIG on all markets, they are guaranteed a profit in the long run, so, realistically, they have no use in fixing a match.

Q: What is the anti-fixing coalition?

Essentially, it is a network where betting sites exchange information on player behaviour. If they detect suspicious activity and large stakes placed on specific games, especially in minor leagues, they notify each other to prevent losing money on match-fixing.

Q: Which leagues should I avoid?

There is no definitive list here. As you may know, there have been many match-fixing incidents involving top teams. However, we advise you to stay away from lesser leagues and sports you do not know a lot about or can’t watch live. Many things can happen behind closed doors.

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