Gambling scandal has once again reached the purview of the sporting world. This time landing on the doorstep of association football. Colorado Rapids player, Max Alves, has been suspended due to an investigation potentially linked to illicit sports betting activities.
The incident in question involved an MLS match where Alves received a booking in the form of a yellow card. Although no actionable instance in a match is insignificant, this was perhaps not a truly important event that could have affected the playing outcome, but events that include bookings are still wagered upon in the sector.
The Rapids released this statement in regards to the investigation:
We are aware of the reports regarding a Colorado Rapids player in connection with unlawful sports gambling. We take matters of this nature seriously and seek at all times to protect the integrity of the game. The player has been removed from all team activities while MLS conducts an investigation into the matter.
This matter has come to light in connection with a bust conducted earlier this week in the South American nation of Brazil, which resulted in 16 individuals being charged with allegations of match fixing. Within the operations ranks were 7 professional football players.
A report in a Brazilian outlet, highlighted ties to Alves in that the investigation had accused him of receiving compensation from the illicit operation to the tune of $12,000 to commit an offense deemed worthy of a yellow card in a match contested against the LA Galaxy on a 17th of September fixture in 2022.
Perhaps not incorrectly, many fans of the globally acclaimed sport have believed that sports betting activities involving those within the game specifically, has long been an issue of serious noteworthiness. These problems have also extended to many other sports and leagues aside.
Situations such as the ones in the MLB and NFL have just this year made the news, becoming an ever prevalent issue. The lucrative nature of sports betting today is a delicate topic to say the least with several factors to consider when engineering a viable solution.
Formerly of an improprietous nature, sports betting and gambling on a wider scale has undergone an important clean up, with more stringent regulation being complied with great vigour. Regulations that have focused on the protection of gamblers, both from dishonest operators and problem gambling along with measures in place to defend the industry from being perpetrated by money laundering and terroristic threats.
However, sports betting still has not shaken the perception of impropriety even in its fully compliant and well secured legal proponents. This is evident in the highly lucrative sponsorship and partnerships being perpetuated throughout all sports.
The issue lies with cases of this nature, where either the operation is illicit in and of itself, being poorly secured, unlicensed and thus noncompliant with the regulations, both in Brazil and the USA in this circumstance. Alternatively or additionally, the involvement of any sports insiders, specifically playing staff, not only constitutes a completely illegal crime but also insurmountably harms the validity and threatens the continued existence of the highly popular sports in question.
Bringing the game into disrepute and having the outcomes of competitive matches predetermined or affected in any way could spell the end for these juggernaut entities. The uncertainty of the outcome is what gives sports their edge and protecting this is integral to its continued success, especially in the landscape of entertainment which is increasingly pre-determined and pre-recorded.
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