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The Inside Track

Gambling Inquiry Widens

October 14, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

The scope of the ATP's inquiry into allegations of match-fixing in tennis goes beyond its recent agreement to inspect client records of the British Internet betting company Betfair, a spokesman for the men's tour said Monday.

David Higdon, the ATP's vice president for communication, confirmed that the tour had sought similar agreements with other Internet betting companies, but would not identify specific organizations. There is concern that bettors under scrutiny would simply move away from those companies and Betfair to other Internet sites.

Betfair announced on its site Oct. 1 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the ATP, giving the tennis organization permission to see the records of Betfair's clients.

The issue came to the forefront after a weekend report by a British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, about possible match-fixing and the ATP's agreement with Betfair.

Mark Miles, the ATP's chief executive, said Monday at a news conference in Madrid that the ATP had been aware "for some time" of rumors "about some irregular betting patterns in tennis."

One day after the ATP entered the agreement with Betfair, the governing body of men's tennis posted a reminder about the rules prohibiting gambling on professional tennis matches.

Miles said the tour was not investigating last week's match in Lyon, France, between Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia and Fernando Vicente of Spain. He said the match had been watched by a supervisor and that Kafelnikov gave "a professional effort" in the straight-set loss.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that betting on the match had been suspended by bookmakers several hours beforehand when the odds dramatically reversed in favor of Vicente, who had not won a match since June. Betting on the match reportedly was also halted in Australia.

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