A sports gambling website halted betting during an Australian Open match on Sunday, prompting concerns of match fixing, The New York Times reports.
The match in question, a mixed doubles contest between Lara Arruabarrena/David Marrero and Andrea Hlavackova/Lukasz Kubot, ended with a 6–0, 6–3 victory for Hlavackova and Kubot. Pinnacle Sports, the gambling site, halted betting following a suspiciously large influx of bets being placed on the relatively minor match.
Most of the money wagered on the match came down in favor of the eventual winners, Pinnacle Sports sportsbook chief Marco Blume told The New York Times. The one–sidedness of the betting raised red flags over possible match fixing.
“We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money,” Blume said, according to The New York Times.
Last week, the BBC and BuzzFeed published an investigation alleging widespread match fixing in tennis, including by several top–50 players. The BBC and BuzzFeed reported that despite suspicion surrounding several players, tennis authorities had failed to take action.
Mixed doubles matches, particularly first–round contests, don't typically command large amounts of wagers, meaning that any irregularity can trigger suspicion.
“In context, these matches are rather small,” Blume told The New York Times. “That means that any aggressive betting behavior is very easy to detect on our side.”
Suspicious betting patterns alone are not necessarily indicative of match fixing. After the match, Marrero attributed his poor performance to a knee injury and rejected match fixing as an explanation.
Marrero, ranked No. 32 in men's singles, has lost his last 10 mixed doubles matches.
- Stanley Kay