When it comes to sporting events, betting is generally considered to be a clean activity. However, there have always been a few bad apples in the gambling community who hope to make some extra money and end up causing some of the biggest scandals and controversies. From match-fixing and doping to point shaving and players seeking to quickly increase their bank accounts, profiting off of sports is not a new phenomenon. Nevertheless, there are some scandals that warrant special attention.
Here are some of the major scandals that have rocked the sports world:
- Charlie Samuels, a clubhouse manager for the New York Mets since 1976, was fired from his job in 2010 following allegations of associating with bookies and engaging in illegal gambling. He was also accused of stealing $2 million worth of memorabilia and issuing loans to himself through the club. Samuels was charged with criminal tax fraud and was banned from all Mets’ functions for life in addition to receiving five years of probation.
- Pete Rose, a former MLB player and manager for the Cincinnati Reds, was accused of betting on his team both as a player and later as a manager. The allegations, which he initially denied, were proven to be true in the Dowd Report, which was published three years after his retirement. Rose allegedly bet at least $10,000 per day and accepted a permanent ban from baseball in 1989.
- Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee, was alleged to have used insider information to bet on games since 2005. He reportedly used information on player injuries, transfers, and other crucial information to tip off other gamblers and made $30,000 from bookies for this service. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of probation.
- In 2009, nearly 200 matches played in the Europa League and UEFA Champions League were allegedly fixed, resulting in one of the biggest scandals in European football history. Charges were brought against Macedonia’s FK Pobeda, and several organized crime members were arrested. Additionally, SC Veri’s captain, Patrick Neumann, confessed to being involved in the scandal.
- Horse racing has also been rocked by scandals, with allegations ranging from ringer jockeys to horses being paraded as supposed amateurs. Champion jockey Damien Oliver was accused of betting on a rival jockey’s horse, Miss Octopussy, through a go-between.
- In 2011, the Japan Sumo Association’s Grand Tournament was cancelled for the first time in six and a half decades after 13 senior wrestlers were involved in betting and match fixing.
- Trainer Hayden Haitana and bloodstock agent John Gillespie were involved in a ring-in and substitution scandal that involved some of Australia’s elite. They painted Bold Personality, a bay gelding, brown so that it could be entered as another horse, Fine Cotton, in the Commerce Novice Handicap. Their plan was foiled when the odds swung from 33-1 to 7/2 before the race, and the paint job was shoddy, with the paint running down the horse’s leg after the race.
While betting on sports can be a fun and entertaining activity, these scandals remind us of the potential for corruption and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the games we love.