ATP launch betting investigation

UK online gambling company voids all bets after surge in gambling on tennis match.

    Betfair received 10 times the normal amount of bets
    on Arguello to win despite Davydenko leading [AFP]
    Tennis officials are investigating suspicious betting patterns on a match in which top-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko retired with an injury against a lowly ranked opponent at an ATP tournament in Poland.

    In an unprecedented move, British online gambling company Betfair voided all bets on Friday placed on Thursday's second-round match at the Prokom Open in Sopot between defending champion and No. 4-ranked Davydenko and No 87-ranked Martin Vassalo Arguello of Argentina.

    Betfair said it received about $7 million in bets on the match, 10 times the usual amount, and most of the money was on Arguello to win, even after Davydenko won the first set 6-2.

    Davydenko won the second set 6-3 and was leading 2-1 in the third when the Russian retired.

    Davydenko said he aggravated a left foot injury in the second set.

    He received medical attention from a tournament trainer before deciding to quit.

    Betfair, which has had an agreement with the ATP since 2003 to share information on any irregular betting activity, said it was concerned with the volume of wagers coming in on Arguello from the start.


    "We think the market quite clearly wasn't fair," Mark Davis, managing director of Betfair, said.

    "The prices seemed very odd. ... It seemed to us manifestly unfair, something not right in that market.

    "As a result, in the interest of fairness and integrity and in consultation with the ATP, we have decided to void the market and return all stakes to punters [gamblers].''

    It's the first time the company has taken such a step in any sport.

    Betfair also decided to turn over its betting records for the ATP to investigate.

    "The ATP takes issues surrounding gambling extremely seriously," the men's tour said in a statement.

    "We are committed to ensuring our sport remains corruption free and have strict rules in place governing this area.

    "In addition we have memorandums of understanding with UK and European betting companies that ensures information pertaining to any ATP Tour match that may look suspicious, based upon gambling patterns, is shared with us immediately.

    "It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on any individual match or on the status of any potential investigation until such time as the process has been completed."

    ATP officials confirmed that Davydenko had left Poland.

    "Normally I try to fight to the end but it was very painful and I may have done even more damage by trying to finish the match," Davydenko said after the match.

    "Since the beginning of Monday I've had a problem with my left toes. Today that became a problem with my foot."

    Track record

    Davis said Betfair was particularly suspicious on Thursday when bets kept pouring in on Arguello after he dropped the first set, winning only two games.

    "Looking at those bets, why is the price starting to lengthen before the injury appeared on court?" he said.

    There are some players you would be crazy
    to bet against [AFP]

    Davis said it was up to the ATP to "make judgments whether something was amiss or not".

    The bets are electronically recorded, allowing Betfair and the ATP to see who made the wagers and when.

    "We're not making a judgment, people can read into this what they want," Davis said.

    "As far as we're concerned, it wasn't fair for our customers."

    At Wimbledon in 2006, Betfair reported irregular patterns surrounding a first-round match between British wild card Richard Bloomfield and Carlos Berlocq of Argentina.

    Berlocq, who was ranked 170 places higher than Bloomfield at the time, lost 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

    Most of the bets placed were on Berlocq to lose, but no wrongdoing was ever detected.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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