December 18, 2023 3 min read


UN Conference Marks Illegal Betting as Main Driver of Match-Fixing

Representatives agreed that many regulations should be updated as the threat of match-fixing increases

The Conference of the States Parties, the main policymaking body of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held its tenth session between December 11 and December 15. Among other things, the participants discussed the effects of illegal sports betting on the sports sector.

Government representatives expressed their concerns about illegal wagering and its proliferation. Citing the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, experts concluded that as much as $1.7 trillion might be wagered on illegal betting markets each year. Most of these markets are controlled by organized crime groups, underscoring the dangers of such operations.

According to James Porteous, the research head of the Asian Racing Federation Council on Anti-Illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime, illegal betting’s growth has turned it into the top factor when it comes to corruption in sports.

Porteous added that many UN countries’ regulations are outdated and incapable of properly tackling the issue at hand.

Humaid Al Ameemi, coordinator of Interpol’s Anti-Corruption Unit, also commented on the matter, describing match manipulation as a “highly organized crime involving money laundering and other illegal activities.” Al Ameemi urged for improved data sharing, hoping that it would help authorities counteract fraud.

Al Ameemi added that match-fixing is a “gateway to crime.” This idea was echoed by Joseph Gillespie, chief of the FBI’s Transnational Organized Crime Threats Unit, who also said that his team is keen on addressing corruption in sports.

Anita DeFrantz, a member of the IOC and a medalist at the 1976 Games in Montreal, called for collaboration between sporting organizations and authorities. She highlighted the role of the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport in tackling cases of fraud.

Soccer Continues to Be Fraudsters’ Prime Target

Participants in the convention also discussed the dangers match manipulation poses to the soccer sector. Because of its popularity, the sport has had its fair share of scandals, some of which have even involved members of FIFA. Ever since the discovery of FIFA’s involvement in corruption, the international soccer community has remained extra vigilant of match-fixing.

FIFA’s acting president, Gianni Infantino, commented on the matter in a video message sent to the conference. Emphasizing the importance of protecting the sport from fraud, he said:

Football (soccer) is a multi-billion dollar global industry which makes it a potential target for corruption and other kinds of criminal activity and that is something that we should avoid and combat to ensure that the playing field is always level.

Gianni Infantino, president, FIFA

In order to protect the soccer sector, FIFA renewed its MoU with the UNODC. According to president Infantino, this has been beneficial to the development of 60+ anti-corruption projects.


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

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