An IOC spokeswoman confirms predictions that illegal gambling would not be a problem in Beijing. (Getty Images)
The IOC's zero-tolerance approach to gambling in sport paid off at the Beijing Games. The special unit set up to monitor betting patterns failed to uncover any unusual or suspicious bets during the Games, according to the IOC.
The IOC used FIFA's Early Warning System to help its staff and worked closely with Interpol and the major betting companies to detect any abnormal betting activity during the two weeks of competition.
“EWS monitored betting patterns and observations from some 450 bookmakers and online gambling sites across the five continents. Their conclusions show that no irregular betting on Olympic competitions was registered during the Games,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told Around the Rings.
She said the result was in line with the prediction of Lord Condon, the chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit at the International Cricket Council.
Condon, who conducted investigations into betting scandals in cricket, informed the IOC last December that the Olympics were not a particularly high risk event for irregular betting activities. But he urged the IOC to pursue its anti-betting measures, which included barring all participants in the Olympics from betting and promoting betting.
In June, the IOC Executive Board approved the anti-betting rules for Beijing, writing them into its Code of Ethics. It required all athletes, coaches, officials and journalists to agree not to engage in Olympic-related betting or to promote betting companies during the Beijing Games.
The code also prohibits betting on any Olympic competition by IOC members, IOC staff, or any accredited IF and OCOG officials.
Beijing marked the IOC's biggest crackdown on gambling at an Olympics; the decision to establish the anti-betting unit was prompted by a wave of betting scandals in sports such as football, tennis and cricket. President Jacques Rogge had threatened action and possible sanctions for anyone found to have breached the gambling rules in Beijing.
Moreau said a full debrief with EWS and a number of betting companies would be organized “to build on the experience from Beijing and decide upon the procedures to be implemented at future Games."
“A specific analysis of betting trends and activities surrounding winter sports will be conducted in view of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games,” she said.
With reporting from Mark Bisson
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