Unregulated sports betting and corruption in the sporting world is on the rise worldwide over the past two decades, according to a newly-released United Nations report.

  • According to a newly-released United Nations report, unregulated sports betting and corruption in the sporting world has been on the rise over the last two decades.
  • According to the report, up to 80% of worldwide wagers are placed through unlicensed channels, turning in an estimated handle between $340 billion and $1.7 trillion yearly.

NEW YORK CITY – Despite more and more states establishing a legalized and regulated sports betting industry, the underground gambling world is still receiving plenty of action worldwide, according to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report.

The report, called the Global Report on Corruption In Sport, is the first of its kind to be released by the U.N. The report contains analysis on underground sports wagering activity, money laundering through sports and sports betting, and corruption in the sporting world.

According to the report, unregulated sports wagering turns in an estimated handle between $340 billion and $1.7 trillion yearly.

Around 65% of these wagers are placed from Asia.

According to the Asian Racing Federation, “the illegal sports betting market is at least as big as the legal sports betting market in terms of margin.”

It also estimated that around 80% of bets worldwide are placed by utilizing underground, unlicensed sportsbooks and online casinos as opposed to a legal sports betting site or venue.

“The threat posed to sports by illegal betting is amplified by the increasing amount of money laundering that is associated with this illicit activity,” according to the report. “Estimates about the scale and scope of illegal betting vary, with some estimating that up to $140 billion is laundered through sports betting every year.”

While sports betting and corruption have been inextricably linked since Major League Baseball’s 1919 “Black Sox scandal”, the report indicates that corruption is on the rise.

“While corruption in sport is not a new phenomenon … The past two decades have witnessed a substantial increase in criminal activities within this area,” the report says.

The report attributes the rise in underground activity in the sporting world to a combination of factors:

“Indeed, a range of factors left it ripe for manipulation, with the perfect storm of globalization, a huge influx of money, the rapid growth of legal and illegal sports betting, and technological advances transforming the way sport is played and consumed and are making it increasingly attractive … for criminal networks seeking to exploit sport for illicit and illegal profit to capitalize.”

The report also claims that organized crime has been a “catalyst for the significant increase in the size and scale of [corruption in sport].” According to the report, organized crime is linked to “competition manipulation, corruption in sports organizations, illegal betting, money-laundering, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling in sport.”

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