First round Hall of Fame grass court match at Newport now under investigation
The advanced anti-corruption technology used by online betting exchange group Betfair has again contributed to the fight against cheating in sport by flagging a Newport, Rhode Island tennis match between Richard Bloomfield and Christophe Rochus.
The first round match at the Hall of Fame grass court tournament apparently attracted an unusual $1.5 million in wagers and was the subject of dramatic price movement, which was quickly picked up by Betfair’s real-time betting patterns software.
The incident was widely reported Saturday in the international press, with the Associated Press news service reporting that Britain's Bloomfield won the match 7-6 (1), 6-3.
Bloomfield, ranked No. 552, was rated even money against his 160th-ranked Belgian opponent Rochus. In the hours before the match, the odds on Bloomfield winning shortened to 1-4. After he won the first set, the odds shorted to 1-8.
"If people are willing to risk 4 pounds to win one, that is indicative of a substantial gamble," Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin told the news service.
Notification of the irregular betting pattern was made to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), an independent body created by the sport's governing bodies to lead the fight against corruption.
Associated Press reports that 27-year-old Bloomfield was caught up in a betting controversy in 2006, when his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Argentina's Carlos Berlocq in the first round at Wimbledon was investigated following irregular patterns. No conclusion was reached by authorities about the match.
There is no suggestion Bloomfield is implicated in the irregular betting surrounding his victory over Rochus.
The Daily Mail reported that equivalent matches attracted around 15-20 times less money on Betfair, and that some bookmakers cautiously stopped taking bets several hours before the start of the match