For information only - not an official document

26 November 2013

Factsheet 4

Illegal sports betting and match-fixing

The Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Panama City (25-29 November 2013)

PANAMA CITY/VIENNA, 26 November (UN Information Service) - Billions of people across the world take part in amateur sporting activities or are captivated when professionals play these same sports. Whether it is professional football, tennis, American football or baseball, these games capture the essence of fair play, integrity and physical endeavour.

However, sports are being undermined by the rise of illegal sports betting and match-fixing. These crimes have grown into a huge transnational business worth billions of dollars and have cast a dark shadow over the results of sporting events. Today, various sports bodies are looking into new ways of confronting this crime.

Identifying the challenges

• The Internet: the rise of match-fixing can be linked to the rise of online gambling, which increased the number of people with a direct economic interest in sport competitions.
•  The commercialization of sport: this has led to more lucrative gains from sport-related betting.
• Money-laundering: the globalized financial system, including tax havens and investment funds, offers numerous opportunities to the transnational criminals to launder the proceeds of these crimes.
• Damage to the integrity of sport: illegal betting and match-fixing threaten the credibility of sport and create dangerously close links with crime.

The facts

• Swiss company Sportradar, along with several other betting operators, developed a system that watches the evolution of odds to track suspicious moves. Based on its estimates, 300 football matches are potentially fixed every year in Europe (World Crunch: All News is Global).
• During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, 5,000 people were arrested in connection with sport betting in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, and more than US$10 million was seized (World Crunch: All News is Global).
• According to CK Consulting, US$430 billion was gambled globally last year, 80 per cent of which passing through illegal operators (World Crunch: All News is Global).
• It is estimated that sports betting could be used to launder more than 11 billion Euros worldwide (

UNODC taking action:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is the global leader in helping Member States to fight against transnational organized crime and operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. UNODC is also the custodian for the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementary Protocols and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

UNODC has undertaken action to assist Member States in developing and implementing effective criminal justice responses to match-fixing and illegal/irregular betting, as well as enhancing international cooperation to combat these forms of crime, especially through the use of multilateral instruments such as the UNTOC and the UNCAC.

In this context, UNODC collaborated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on a study on  "Criminalization approaches to match-fixing and illegal/irregular betting: a global perspective", which will be officially presented at a special event during the fifth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC in Panama in November 2013.

UNODC also participates in the proceedings of the IOC Founding Working Group on the Fight against Illegal and Irregular Betting and works with other key international players for the implementation of recommendations developed by the Group in the field of legislation and regulations against match-fixing.

* *** *

For further information please contact:

David Dadge, Spokesperson, UNODC
Mobile: (+507) 6800 3353 Email: david.dadge[at]
Anne Thomas, Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Mobile: (+507) 6800 2981 Email: anne.thomas[at]

For further information visit:

Conference website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):

Conference website of the Host Country:

For more information on UNODC's work against corruption visit:

Follow @UNODC on Twitter and join the conversation using #NoToCorruption and #CoSP5