EXCLUSIVE: How Grand Slam matches are fixed, masterminds reveal

Pavel
Lokhovinin

The Bookmaker Ratings presents an exclusive interview with two game-fixing businessmen who are working with tennis players. They live in one former USSR republic and own a place between business sharks and pan fish. One of them is an informant and the other one is an intermediary person. We promised to protect their identity and to name them after their “occupation”.

Tell me about your business. What do you do?

Informant: I’m an agent between a sportsman and a punter. The informant gets money for selling information and he also can gain benefit from his client’s profit.

Intermediary: There is a contact person who gives the information about a fixed match. This cost some money for sure. Screenshot or bill with bets on a fixed match is saved. The informant is a guarantee of refund if the fixed match falls through or ends with another score. So if the intermediary doesn’t win, the informant must refund all of his material losses according to the screenshots or bills. He refunds the sum of the bet and all monies paid for the information.

How did you start in this business?

Intermediary: The intermediaries often ask professional punters who have a lot of money in their accounts to bet on a fixed match with some profit from them. At first, I was betting to help the intermediaries. I like this type of business. It is profitable for me. By this time, I contacted the informant by myself. And the informants have contact with the sportsmen on a regular basis.

Informant: You can find yourself, all of a sudden in this business. We have the information about the sportsmen who deal with it.

Where do you get the info about the sportsmen who is ready to sell the game?

Informant: The informants talk to the tennis players, make a deal and then sell the info to punters. Or maybe they place bets by themselves. There are sportsmen who are doing this on a regular basis. You can buy a game with them. Once, I had the info that David Ferrer can sell his game twice a year.

Intermediary: The informant talks to the tennis players directly. Then he sells the info to the intermediary. So the info passes through to at least two people.

Are there many tennis players who sell the games regularly?

Intermediary: There are some, but bookies almost know them all. The odds given on their games are low so it’s unprofitable to bet on them.

Informant: If the player goes for it – they’ll do it again. But the limit is one or two games in a year. There are injuries or other problems that can force the player to sell the game. Women are often selling games when they have their period. I don’t know if someone from Top-100 of WTA and ATP sell their games now, but a lot of them were doing this at the beginning of their career.

Can the info be resold? Or maybe the informant wants to give it to a single person?

Intermediary: It is possible. I don’t know for sure. But it can be a clause with the informant not to bet with a concrete bookmaker before the ordering party had bet the exact sum. After that, the informant can do what he wants. For example, he can sell the info to other clients.

How often does the data leak happen?

Intermediary: Info can be leaked, but it provokes the odds to fall.

Informant: There is some leakage in 95% of the games from the players or from the intermediaries. And this lets all the irrelevant punters to bet and to “kill” the odds.

What are the tournaments where we can find fixed matches?

Intermediary: It can be every game of ATP Challenger. And it’s often the ITF tournaments. We are not going for Grand Slam tournaments. This is a different level and different sums.

Informant: Everywhere. Fixed games can even be at Grand Slam tournaments – but all before the third round. I know some people who organized fixed games at Wimbledon. In general, fixed games can happen in former USSR Reps, Italy, Turkey and Egypt. We can suspect every second match of Futures being fixed. Why Italy? There are a lot of tournaments in Italy and around. The biggest number of fixed games was in Italy, Belgium and Nederlands in 2014. The year before it was in  the US.

How much do I need to pay for a fixed match and info about it on Futures, Challenger, ATP and WTA tournaments? Is it a payment to one player or for both? Do I have to pay a referee?

Informant: It’s $3000 – $7000 on Futures, #10,000 – #15,000 on Challenger. And it’s about $100.000 on ATP and WTA. Sometimes just one player gets money, sometimes both of them (the winner gets less money). The referee is involved when the bets are on points or on breaks.

What is the price for information?

Intermediary: My largest payment was $65,000. Games worth the cost are from $20,000 and up. We don’t know how this sum is spread between the player and the informant.

What are the sums of bets after the information is sold?

Intermediary: Intermediaries try to bet to win back money for the information and to make a profit with, at least, the same sum. My biggest profit was $120,000.

How many bets on fixed games do you usually make?

Intermediary: I make bets one-two times a month. You can even bet every day if you want. But for security reasons you are not to risk too much. It can be unprofitable info in months.

What bets are most popular with fixed games?

Intermediary: It’s bets with high odds. For example, on an exact score in a set. Or one player losing but then winning. Or favourite to lose a set to the underdog. You can have an order on something.

How many accounts do you need to place a sum?

Intermediary: You’re better to do it from one account. But maybe you’ll need three or four. After that, all these accounts are closed; but all the prize money were paid out.

Which bookmakers do you use to bet on fixed games?

Intermediary: It’s usually Bet365 and Pinnacle Sports. They are safe bookmakers who always pay the winnings.

Informant: Pinnacle Sports, Betfair and Bet365. The bets are made in their offices in Italy or Belgium.

Has it become harder to make a profit on fixed games in the last few years? What are your problems today?

Intermediary: Some bookmakers can freeze the accounts and slow down the payments. We just have a few safe bookmakers left, where these bets are possible.

Informant: Leon is blocking the accounts faster than others. I have $50,000 frozen there. It’s not so easy nowadays. We won $5,000 – $20,000 by one match in these past days.

How often the can a bookmaker suspect the game to be fixed and the account being used to bet on fixed games?

Intermediary: I’ve yet had no episodes when the prize was not paid. But sometimes the bookmaker can examine the account and the bet up to three or four months. But the prize money is paid at the end. The bookmakers couldn’t always prove that games are fixed. Sometimes you can open a new account or use an old account from another player. But they can soon be closed.

Is there any danger in all this?

Intermediary: Always. If the bookmaker can prove that game is fixed, he can go to law enforcement to start an investigation.

What are the horizons of this activity?

Intermediary: There are still a lot of sure bet punters, prostitutes and criminals. There is always a loophole in the law you can use.

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