Illegal betting markets launder £83bn a year, reveals report

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A new study revealing that $140bn (£83bn) in illicit funds are laundered through illegal betting markets annually has prompted renewed calls for governments to step up their efforts to tackle the problem, and associated match-fixing issues.

A two-year study by the Paris-Sorbonne University and the International Centre for Sport Security estimated the overall size of the market at between $200bn and $500bn, more than 80% of which is wagered on illegal markets.

But while the illegal markets in Asia and the Far East are regularly blamed for allowing corruption to flourish, with new high-profile fixing cases in football, cricket and other sports emerging on a regular basis, the report also highlighted the influence of the lightly-regulated “grey” market.

Thousands of bookmakers are based in jurisdictions where betting is legal but regulation is so light that the owners of the companies are able to remain anonymous.

Of the 8,000-plus operators that offer legal sports betting services around the world, more than 80% are based in lightly-regulated markets. The report found that the number of illegal operators was “impossible to even estimate”.

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