The arrest of a former Australian table tennis champion in an alleged match-fixing scheme Wednesday may shed additional light on the Colorado Division of Gaming’s decision earlier this summer to suspend wagering on table tennis events in Ukraine.
Australian detectives from the nation’s Organised Crime Squad executed nine search warrants nationwide and arrested a 40-year-old man in a pre-dawn raid in Broadmeadow, New South Wales, related to the alleged scheme, according to a release from state police authorities. The man was identified as Adam Green, a former top-ranked New South Wales table tennis player and 2012 Olympic hopeful, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Detectives from the squad established a unit dubbed “Strike Force Brombal” in June to investigate a transnational gambling syndicate that allegedly placed corrupt bets on international table tennis tournaments. Around the same time, the Colorado Division of Gaming received credible information on irregular betting patterns in Ukrainian table tennis wagering in at least one foreign country, the division said in a statement. The integrity monitoring actions prompted the division to suspend betting on table tennis events in Ukraine over the summer.
During the investigation, detectives from the unit determined that the Broadmeadow man received information related to fixed table tennis matches in Europe. A series of corrupt bets were subsequently placed on table tennis events producing winning tickets of approximately $500,000 in aggregate, according to the statement from New South Wales authorities.
Exclusive: The arrest of a high-profile former table tennis player in Australia today has thrown light on a murky new betting market that opened up during COVID lockdown | @Ageinvestigates https://t.co/6lOh7ou99j
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) December 15, 2020
Extraordinary table tennis handle in CO
With a host of mainstream sports sidelined by COVID-19 over the spring, bettors turned to table tennis to fill the void. During the month of May, the first month of legal sports betting in Colorado, bettors wagered $6.6 million on table tennis, roughly $5 million more than the next closest sport. For the month, table tennis wagering represented 25.7% of the state’s handle.
The elevated wagering continued into the summer as bettors wagered more than $14 million in the following two months. The handle for table tennis increased to $9.15 million in June, comprising 24% of the state’s overall handle, followed by $5.11 million in July when several major sports returned. Even in October when the state produced record handle of $210.7 million, table tennis experienced a bounce with $9.35 million wagered on the sport.
In total, bettors wagered $40.1 million on table tennis over the first six months of legal sports betting in Colorado. During that period, table tennis accounted for 5.98% of the state’s $669.9 million handle.
|Month||Table Tennis Handle||Overall Handle||Handle Percentage|
|May||$6.58 million||$25.6 million||25.7%|
|June||$9.15 million||$38.1 million||24%|
|July||$5.11 million||$59.2 million||8.6%|
|August||$4.53 million||$128.6 million||3.5%|
|September||$5.37 million||$207.7 million||2.6%|
|October||$9.35 million||$210.7 million||4.4%|
|Total||$40.1 million||$669.9 million||5.9%|
Sports Betting Catalog
As of Wednesday morning, the Division of Gaming’s catalog of sports events and wagers included offerings from more than 10 table tennis governing bodies, including the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU), and Table Tennis Australia. The catalog enables sportsbooks to offer wagers on moneyline, totals, winning margin, set winners, and even winners of individual points. Betting remained suspended on events from two governing bodies: the Ukraine Table Tennis Federation and the TT Cup.
The Australian sanctioning authority, Table Tennis Australia, is aware of an incident relating to a former NSW representative, who has been charged in relation to alleged match fixing in international table tennis, the governing body said Wednesday in a statement.
TTA fiercely supports the fight against match fixing in sport, and this is a reminder to all athletes, officials and staff working in the sport of the need to ensure compliance with the rules and spirit of the game.
The table tennis section of the Colorado sports betting catalog was last revised on Sept. 11, according to the division. It is unclear whether the Division of Gaming will suspend further table tennis offerings in light of Wednesday’s arrest.
A Colorado Division of Gaming spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During the Australian probe, investigators seized electronic devices and documents, which will undergo further examination, New South Wales authorities said.
Sport Integrity Australia, a government entity which assisted the squad in the investigation, is prepared to brief European authorities on the matter, the Herald reported.
Investigations under Strike Force Brombal are continuing, Australian police said in the statement.