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Archive for Friday, June 30, 2006

Irregular betting probed

June 30, 2006

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— Tennis officials were investigating reports of irregular betting activity surrounding a first-round match at Wimbledon between a British player and a higher-ranked opponent who lost in straight sets.

British media said up to $546,000 of wagers were placed on No. 89 Carlos Berlocq of Argentina to lose the match Tuesday. He lost 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to Richard Bloomfield, who is ranked 170 places below him and got into the draw as a wild card.

"In the Grand Slams, we have an agreement with them (betting agencies) to give us confidential information if unusual betting patterns take place," Grand Slam administrator Bill Babcock told The Associated Press. "It may be nothing or it may be something.

"Our rules at Grand Slams are that players cannot bet. We receive information and we have no more comment to make, unless there is something further in the way of a player offense."

London media said the bets on the match were about 30 times more than had been placed on similar British players and foreign opponents. The betting activity led online gambling company Betfair to slash the odds on Bloomfield winning the match from 1-2 to 1-10.

Betfair said it alerted the International Tennis Federation and Britain's Lawn Tennis Assn. to the unusual betting pattern.

"We contacted the ITF Grand Slam Committee and the LTA to make them aware of betting patterns before the match," Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said.

"We have information-sharing agreements with both these bodies. Although the amounts involved were not unusual, the betting patterns were. Bloomfield was backed from an opening 1-2 on Betfair to a low of 1-10 pre-match, and this led us to contact the ITF."

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