Report Says 80 Percent of Sports Bets Are Made Illegally

A report from the Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security claims as much as 80 percent of all sports bets are made illegally and about $140 billion is laundered through illegal bets annually.

A new report on sports betting and match fixing concludes that global sports wagering ranges from €200b to €500b annually and that 80 percent of wagers are made in markets where sports betting is illegal.

Titled Protecting the Integrity of Sport Competition: The Last Bet for Modern Sport, the report was conducted by the Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and researchers at the Sorbonne in Paris.

According to the report, Asia and Europe make up 85 percent of the total wagering market. Europe accounts for 49 percent of the legal market. Asia is responsible for 53 percent of the illegal market, the report says.

More than 8,000 legal sports betting operators are in business while it is “impossible even to estimate” the amount of illegal operators. The report alleges that organized crime uses sports betting to launder roughly $140 billion annually.

The report recommends capping returns to bettors, rather than fixed-odds wagers as a possible solution, but the report has been criticized for a lack of sources and confusing illegal bets with match fixing.