While most people see the 2014 Soccer World Cup as a chance for nations to come together amidst troubling times and engage in one of the world’s most beloved sports, a small group of sports fans in East Asia see the World Cup as a chance to make a huge financial profit.The black market of online gambling seems stronger than ever in countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, India, and Indonesia, FOX News reports.
Despite many people in East Asia displaying a strong interest in sports gambling, many governments enact restrictions on gambling or ban it entirely; rather than weeding out the practice of sports betting, these restrictions seem to have only encouraged the black market of online gambling to grow. Warwick Bartlett, he CEO of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants, claims that “the propensity to gamble in Asia is stronger than anywhere else on the planet” and he cites the current World Cup as “the biggest single gambling event of the decade,” so it’s no wonder that the world of online gambling has suddenly erupted in East Asian countries.
In places such as mainland China, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, gambling is legal and is governed by legislation, but many people still turn to illegal online gambling because it’s easier to skirt tax regulations and there are more options for betting and financing. Other countries such as India, Indonesia and Thailand have completed outlawed online gambling but it appears that this has not deterred gambling companies from finding success in East Asian countries. ABC News reports that Asian gamblers are responsible for over half of all illegal betting worldwide even as law enforcement cracks down on illegal betting rings.
Events such as the World Cup are often seen as unifying forces for sports fans worldwide, but these events also make us evaluate how we connect with each other and how we use technology. New technological advances make it easier than ever for illegal gambling companies to sprout up, and not only are these companies considered to be groups of organized crime, but they could also have disastrous effects on companies who abide by legal gambling restrictions.
As global sporting events continue to grow in size and popularity, it will be interesting to see whether technology proves to be an asset or a problem. Unfortunately, illegal betting rings seem to be taking attention away from the games themselves while also causing global organizations, such as FIFA and Interpol, to impose more restrictions on those who gamble– even when it is done legally.