Game-Rigging Insidious But Possible

Game-Rigging Insidious But Possible

In the late 1950s, millions of television viewers were aghast to learn that they'd been subjected to an elaborate hoax. Popularly known as the Quiz Show Scandal, and dramatized in a 1994 Robert Redford movie, it was revealed that televised contests of intellect were not true competitions as they'd been pitched. Rather, according to a later finding by the U.S. House of Representatives, the shows were rigged, with some contestants being secretly provided answers and others being instructed to take a dive, resulted in a "complex pattern of calculated deception of the listening and viewing audience." In 1959, then-President Eisenhower opined that he was dismayed anyone could conspire to deceive Americans in such a way.

Earlier this month, Europol, a multi-nation EU-based law enforcement information sharing agency, revealed that 680 recent soccer matches were likely fixed for gambling purposes. The agency pinpointed more than 400 players, referees, and league/team officials from at least 15 countries as being involved in the game-rigging. Such revelations certainly resonate with American sports fans—the names of NBA referee Tim Donaghy, Arizona State basketball player Stevin Smith, Pete Rose, and Shoeless Joe Jackson immediately come to mind when thinking about prominent scandals here.

Gambling-related fraud of sporting events is a big deal, as it should be.

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