«Transcript of the Safeguarding the Integrity of Sport Forum May 2015 A production of Play by the Rules In cooperation with © Play by the Rules 2015 ...»
Law enforcement has only been active in this space since about 2013, when the Europol investigation team targeted Dan Tan and Perumal. Joiza affair was done quite a few years ago by the Germans. But the key is that these match-fixing syndicates also use local organized crime groups to do their dirty work. So, they will develop associations with, say, Italian organized crime groups, who then have the contacts into the soccer teams, and they use them as basically the middlemen to do their dirty work. So, this is where I talk about these groups actually coming together and working together to corrupt the sports.
So, the key is that these guys are so good at what they do—they have the capacity and expertise to infiltrate and corrupt any sport. If they set their mind to it, they will corrupt 34 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive your sport, and that’s just the basic message. So, if you want to talk about—the criminal infrastructure is already basically in place in Australia. All it’s going to take is for that trigger to be pulled, and those associations to start to be used, and I’ll explain basically how organized crime does its dirty work.
So, if you get onto the liquid betting markets, these figures are our best estimate. And we have Andy from Sport Rader here, who’s an expert in his field, as well. But I just basically want to run through the way this market is structured. And basically, the regulated market, which is the Ladbrokes and the sports bets and the true regulated bookmakers that we know, that basically are signed off—the amount of money going through that market is about 91 billion. The key in the middle here is the Asian bookmakers, such as SBO Bet, Maxbet, and 188-Bet.
Now, originally, it was about 200 billion each that these guys were doing. We now know it’s much in excess of that. We don’t actually know, but we know it’s in excess of this sort of money, because these guys actually are just clearing houses. They’re actually clearing so much money through that money actually moves between and through all these different levels of the market.
And then you have the unregulated market, which is the true illegal bookmaking. And the reason that this market exists is because it’s essentially the street markets that have now gone online. The gambling dens through Asia have now moved online, and there are massive amounts of money moving through this market here. Now, original estimates from the director of trading of the Hong Kong Jockey Club was that it’s worth about a trillion dollars. He was at a conference in Doha a couple weeks ago, and he said he now believes that that market is now worth three trillion. So, the key is that it’s not about—all you need to know is that there are massive amounts of money moving through the sports betting markets internationally. And if you go onto bookmakers like SBO and MaxBet, you can see the sort of markets that are being offered. SBO, on an average night, will offer 700 football games on the weekend, and they are football games from all over the world.
The other thing is that there has been Paul Fua, who was arrested by the FBI at the end of last year, just after the World Cup. During questioning by the FBI, his son disclosed that he was actually a shareholder of IBC Bet, which is also MaxBet. Paul Fua is allegedly a 14K triad member, so it’s the first time we’ve actually identified triad ownership into these bookmakers. So, the other thing is that we know organized crime is present all the way through the unregulated market, and now we also suspect, through these partiallyregulated or private-based organizations in locations such as the Philippines.
So, the other thing is that we know there are about two and a half thousand websites in Asia that are linked to illegal bookmaking. They are linked to and run by organized crime groups, particularly triads. The reason that they are so popular is because in Asia, they offer a superior betting product. The traditional lotteries offer, say, football and maybe basketball.
These guys are offering the full gamut of games. They offer different leagues, different competitions. They offer credit betting, which the licensed operators don’t offer in Asia. And Play by the Rules they have superior payout rights, so these guys will actually return more money to you with superior odds. The other thing is that these are completely anonymous. If we were to try to track the money going through these bookmakers, you can’t do it, because there’s an agent system base that sits below this, which is where you have other individuals that sit below this and actually act as people who move the money up into the market. So, there’s basically the lower level, then it works up into one level of agents, then another level of agents, until it moves up into these bookmakers.
The other thing is that the Asian bookmakers have the ability to accept very large bets. If you were to walk into some of the Australian bookmakers and try and get the amount of money that these Asian bookmakers will accept, they basically wouldn’t accept the money, because the Asian operators are dealing with so much money. They are accustomed and used to dealing with money from agents, and they are actually accustomed to taking very, very large bets.
And the other thing is that we know that, particularly in the middle here, SBO and IBC and MaxBet and that—they will actually tolerate losses from fixed events. So, if we look at Dan Tan and Raj Perumal, money was going through SBO, and the same thing with the Southern Stars. The money that was being bet on those fixed games in Victoria was being placed with Asian bookmakers, SBO Bet.
So, once again, if you want to just talk about comparisons, about how these markets compare, the UNIDC, which is the global body responsible for monitoring drug markets, estimates that the cocaine market is worth about $94 billion. KPMG estimates that the illegal betting in India on cricket alone is worth around $544 billion. So, it just gives you an idea of the problems and the resources that are devoted to trying to police the cocaine market. And look at the resources being devoted to policing sports integrity—they pale in comparison. And yet, the market is completely so much larger.
So, if you want to talk about vulnerable targets, essentially, organized crime is targeting any person who can manipulate an event outcome contingency, but also who can provide inside information. And that’s a key point at the moment in the Australian markets, and that’s what we see as one of the key risks at this point. Inside information—gambling is an information business. If you have information about a team composition, whose star player is playing that weekend, you have an advantage in that betting market.
So, basically, organized crime is targeting anyone who can provide that, so referees and officials—obviously, the role they play in games—players, for obvious reasons, athletic support staff for inside information. Grounds staff was all about betting markets, so that the bookie can understand. They’re actually manipulating grounds staff to prepare wickets in particular ways to have results, and that’s the level that we’re going to. Administrators and managers, overseers—we know that organized crime has targeted groups to actually buy whole clubs, because when you own the club, you own the manager. You own the administrator. You own the players. So, if you spend a million dollars buying a club, you’ll make that money back in one or two weeks on the betting markets, because you essentially 36 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive own that club. Club owners and player agents—player agents are an important group, because they have that direct association with the players, and we know of player agents in Australia who are managing young players who are linked to organized crime identities, and we know those contexts exist.
So, you can see it isn’t any one group. It’s basically everyone that’s involved in sport that is potentially at a corruption risk or at risk of being corrupted. So, how does organized crime work? It’s the tried and true methods that they’ve been doing for many, many years—illicit drug use, PEDs use, gambling, blackmail, targeted recruitment. The other thing is that, as mentioned, they’re targeting clubs in financial distress. Which sporting organization is going to turn back a benefactor that walks in with a million-dollar check, or a half-milliondollar check? Most sports in Australia are struggling to survive as it is. How easy would it be for me to walk in with a nice, fat check, and I basically own your club from that point on?
So, going into the specific details now, illicit drug use—and we see this on a regular basis now, players being caught in the net—Karmichael Hunt associating with a guy who’s involved in cocaine trafficking. He’s immediately putting himself at risk of blackmail and extortion. If I’m that supplier, and I have the text messages saying that I’m supplying him with cocaine or have other evidence, and I say to Karmichael, “OK, this weekend, you’re going to do this for me,” and he goes “No,” I say, “Well, what about this? What’s this going to do to your career?” And the other thing is that we now know that the levels of illicit drug use across Australian sport are much higher than is being officially reported. Illicit drug use across Australian society is problematic at the moment. We have problems with ice and meth and things like that. Sports players are no different. So, we know that there are quite a high percentage of players who are engaging in illicit drug use.
Performance enhancing drug use—this was a raid on the Rebels up in Queensland about a month ago. When this raid was done, cocaine, steroids, guns, and an under-19 football player was picked up in that raid, as well. What we know is that organized crime, and Simon mentioned it, has aggressively moved into the distribution of PEIDs, because they’re making a lot of money out of it. Demand is so buoyant, and demand is so big for steroids at the moment, that organized crime has moved wholesale into distribution of steroids and other agents, because they’re making a lot of money out of it, and in most jurisdictions, the penalties are actually quite low.
So, what’s happening is that we’re actually starting to have players who are using PEIDs, and organized crime, who now have a major role in that market. Once again, the two worlds are bumping up together again—the players, the athletes in sport, and organized crime.
The other thing is—and this is an example of a number of the substances—it isn’t just anabolics anymore. There are a whole range of substances that are being distributed that have the same sort of effects. Ones that came up are GHRP2, GHRP6, Beta-4, aodine9604, CJC1295—where these are coming from is that a lot of these were done from clinical trials, so they were actually all pharmaceuticals that were dumped from clinical trials. So, CJC1295 Play by the Rules was withdrawn from clinical trials because it was causing abnormal rates of myocardial infarction. So then, we have organized crime, who are now involved in distributing these through online and pushing them onto the market.
And they’re making a lot of money. Demand for peptides and hormones is absolutely booming, as well, because the reason is—if you’re on a steroid cycle, you can actually go off your steroid cycle and go onto these, and you’ll hold your gains. And the thing is that these aren’t detectable, or are very hard to detect. And they’re getting a fairly good rap in the bulletin boards and discussions and things like that.
So, you can see—I’ll just read you some of the ones down the side there—the other thing is that we’re seeing a constant stream of new substances being put onto the market—ipamerillin, pegleaded growth affecter, ICE031, which came out after the Perry investigation—and they also sell them in packs, as well, so there’s the muscle enhancer pack, the anti-agent pack, the fat loss pack, and the injury rehab pack. All of these levels— they’ll send you syringes as well, so they’ll give you the whole package in one. The key to this is that the Internet has fundamentally changed supply lines, so you don’t need a supplier anymore. It’s actually shortened supply chains. So, instead of it going from a producer to an importer to a high-level distributor to a low-level distributor to a user, it goes from producer, like this, to a user. So, anyone—you don’t have to find a dealer anymore. You can actually just log online and buy these things. So, we actually find in other drug markets that supply chains have become significantly shortened as a result of the Internet.
Talk about gambling—this was in the paper with the IFL players, David Schwartz talking about problems in gambling across sports. This was in the paper quite a few years ago, 38 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive Brendan Favola. This is a bit hard to read, but I’ll read you the email on the left. “Hi, Brendon.
The bets that I’m aware of are—Bet Easy is at $40,000 and will accept 20. Sports Bet said they’ve written off $31,000, which leaves 10. Steve Fletcher”—which most people in New South Wales should know—”is owed 20,000 dollars and will accept $12,000. Peter Wilson has sold you a debt of 46,000 to someone who I’ve spoken to, and he will cop 23. Sporting Bet, I think, will accept 5. The debt is 10.” The minute that a player finds themselves in a position where they owe money, they’re vulnerable to exploitation. And once again, we’re finding athletes putting themselves in these positions where their integrity could be compromised relatively easily, and this is how easy it is, and these are the holes that some of these players are finding themselves in.
So, we know organized crime is involved in acting as standover agents, and in acting as loan sharks, and things like that. So, when you’re hard up for cash, where do you go? You go to the loan shark, and he’ll help you off. But the loan shark is involved in organized crime or the bikies, and you get yourself in a whole new world of trouble by interacting in this world.