Betting Exchange Corruption
Much has been made of the potential for corruption on betting exchanges and the subject cannot be ignored, even though an awful lot of hot air has been spouted by jealous bookmakers.
You can take it as read that if a bookmaker moans, he is not doing it out of concern for the punter or a sport's integrity but for his own potential for profit, and, whatever the mainstream layers may say, the exchanges have had an impact on their turnover.
Many of the bookmakers' concerns surround horseracing, but it would unwise to think corruption starts and ends there as there are few sports that have gone untainted by the whiff of scandal over the years. The truth is that in any sport where prize money is relatively low there will always be the potential for someone to pull a fast one if they can make more money out of losing than they can by winning.
Bookmakers can spot an attempted coup a mile off and will quickly react by suspending betting but that doesn't happen on exchanges so in a sense it is true that fixing a result for profit has been made easier.
However, Betfair have done their level best to address the integrity issue. They have a memorandum of understanding in place with the majority of sporting governing bodies, which allows them to pass on details of anyone (all punters have to agree to having their names given to regulatory bodies if requested) involved in suspicious betting patterns.
Of course, anyone can open an account using somebody else's name, but money still has to be deposited via a bank card, so people are easy to trace.
Proving corruption is virtually impossible – there have been several cases of sportsmen getting bans in different disciplines, but quite often the offence is deemed to be nothing more serious than unprofessional conduct - but at least market transparency gives punters the freedom of choice.
The truth is that corruption in sport is still very rare and that those who attempt to pull off a coup very often get caught because of greed.
The beauty of exchanges is that there is a much better chance of cheats getting caught thanks to the willingness of the exchanges to cooperate with sport's regulators (something the high street layers failed to do for so long), while the transparency of markets at least acts as an early warning sign for punters.