Sports bookmaker suspends betting over match-fixing concerns

International bookmaker Pinnacle Sports suspended betting on Sunday, after unusual betting patterns on an Australian Open mixed doubles match was detected, The New York Times reports.

A large amount of money was gambled on a match between Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero against Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot. Where the majority of bets were placed on Kubot and Hlavackova to win, which they did at 6-0 6-3.

The losing pair denied they had thrown the match, with Marrero citing a knee injury as result of his below par performance.

Pinnacle Sports suspended betting about 13 hours before it was scheduled to begin. “We saw a small number of people placing a large amount of money,” said Marco Blume, Pinnacle’s head of sportsbook, who had notified Victoria police of possible irregularities.

“…these matches are rather small. That means that any aggressive betting behavior is very easy to detect on our side.” said Blume.

However, other industry observants are suspicious of Pinnacle Sports’ claims, which have made headlines around the world. Former Betfair executive, Scott Ferguson more recently accused the site of making a “cheap grab at free publicity”. 

Fergson, who now works as an industry consultant told Fairfax Media that he doubted Pinnacle’s sincerity since neither Betfair nor William Hill reported any usual activity and suggested that Pinnacle may have seized an opportunity for a free PR stunt, as it “won’t have cost [Pinnacle] anything to switch the match off, contact a couple of journos, and here we go, watch our name get splashed everywhere across the globe.”