Stupid bet to make
Jaidyn Stephenson, an Australian rules football player, has been handed a 22-game ban and a fine of AU$20,000 (£10,900; $13,700) for betting a total of AU$36 (£19; $24) on three games.
The Collingwood player reportedly bet on three games involving his team, totaling AU$36, all of which came to nothing, reports ABC News. As a result of his actions, though, and knowing that he’s not supposed to bet on Australian Football League (AFL) games, he was given a 22-match ban, 12 of which were suspended.
Stephenson said at a press conference that he didn’t think of the “bigger picture and the long-term consequences” when placing those bets, adding:
It was an incredibly stupid thing to do and I now realize the seriousness of what I have done.
According to Andrew Dillon, AFL general counsel, this is the toughest sanction a player can face for betting on games.
“There is no clearer instruction – AFL players, club and league officials are banned from betting on Australian rules football in any form,” he said. “The rules are very clear and if you breach them you will be penalized. Jaidyn’s actions have compromised the integrity of the game.”
Using a friend’s betting account, he paid cash for the friend to place two bets for him and on the third, he used his friend’s account to bet online. During the press conference, he said he realized that his three bets could build up into something bigger.
Stephenson then spoke to Geoff Walsh, Magpies general manager of football, to seek his advice on what he had done. Walsh contacted the AFL integrity unit, which began an investigation. Because he reported what he had done, the AFL gave Stephenson the suspended match ban. He will miss the rest of the home-and-away season with the team but will still be permitted to train with them.
Even though some may consider gambling to be an “evolution of society,” that’s not to say everyone has equal access to betting on games. That’s certainly the case with people who play a sport.
The biggest scandal involving sports gambling was probably the Black Sox baseball scandal. This was an alleged game-fixing incident in which eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of deliberately losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate.
Of course, Stephenson hasn’t been accused of any type of game-fixing.
Another example is Pete Rose, a former baseball player, who received a lifetime ban in 1989 from Major League Baseball (MLB) after an investigation found that he had bet on games while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
There was also Tim Donaghy, a former National Basketball Association (NBA) referee, who was accused of betting on NBA games and feeding information to gamblers in a 2007 FBI investigation.
These are just a few gambling instances in the sporting world that illustrate how prevalent it can be and the steps some people will take to win money.