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Is Money Laundering in Cricket ‘Super Over’?


Congratulations to England on winning the World Cup (…and therefore what seems like a good time to reflect on money laundering and corruption within the game)!


No one can argue that England’s win yesterday against New Zealand in the 2019 Cricket World Cup wasn’t one of the greatest sporting events of recent times. From the solid performance the Kiwi’s put in, to England’s fightback which resulted in a draw and ended with a “Super Over” that England won - cricket has certainly won a legion of new fans. However, it is worth remembering that the sport of cricket is not as clean as the player’s whites from times gone by (especially as teams now wear colourful kits!).


A report commissioned by the International Centre of Sport Security (ICSS) in 2014 claimed that 80 % of gambling related to sport was illegal, with cricket being one of the sports most exposed to the risk of illicit activity due to its extensive global interest and fan base. The ICSS estimated that bets between £164bn and £408bn were placed each year globally but only resulted in the total amount of associated tax revenues being about c.£3.3bn, due to the high-level of illegal gambling.


Asia and Europe are said to make up about 85% of the total gambling market although it is impossible to estimate with any accuracy the number of illegal gambling operations within these jurisdictions. What is clear though is that with the advent of global sports betting, enhanced by on-line gambling platforms, and an ever-increasing market, the gambling industry has been infiltrated by organised crime and money laundering.