Gambling predates sport. Coduri Bonus de Pariere are a clear proof for that. In fact, long before the development of sports as we know them, people have played games and placed their bets, in order to pass the time. There is even evidence of this from the prehistoric period. Today, it is difficult to imagine what the world would be like if there were no betting. It is many people’s favorite activity for passing the time, and an opportunity to end up with more money than they started with. There is no wonder, then, that this industry is growing more and more every day. However, does this growth pose a danger for sports, more specifically, for cycling?
Cycling, although somewhat different from other sports, is not immune to people trying to profit from it, usually with illegal methods. In the 1920s, a rule stating that no doping is allowed for cyclists marked the beginning of a long and difficult fight for maintaining the integrity of this sport. Today, technology has enabled us to track this even better, with things like biological passports and frequent drug tests. According to officials, professional cycling is now cleaner than ever. However, many would instead say that doping is not the key problem for this sport. The biggest problem that pro cycling faces today is a completely different thing.
What is the problem?
Doping is usually regarded as a thing of the ’80s and ’90s. Numerous scandals served to confirm this; a reduced number in cases of using drugs can be said to be the result of the development of anti-doping technology. However, the greatest threat today is the growing gambling industry and its chokehold on the world of professional sports. The enormous pressure of the sports betting industry can kill off the essence of sports competitions –competing based on your performance.
How does this affect pro cycling?
Cycling is known as a very difficult sport, due to long distances that the athletes need to cross quite quickly, uphill and downhill, which requires a lot of explosive strength, and an overall great physical fitness. The growing sports betting industry, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and which is still growing in popularity, will not let a trivial thing, such as an athlete who is better, determine the outcome and the profit of a bet. Instead, matches are often fixed in order to be as profitable as possible. In any other sport, this always causes an outrage; however, in cycling, this is not at all unusual. Fixing races is seen as a normal part of game tactics; players are often seen colluding, and letting one another pass or win a certain stage of a game. This opens many possibilities for bets to be placed and for profit to be made.
What can be done?
Cycling is not yet in the betting spotlight like soccer or basketball; however, there is some risky behavior happening between the athletes during races, which could potentially be abused for fixing races in order to win a particularly good bet. In order to prevent profit from ruining this beautiful sport, stricter regulations should be enforced to help prevent these kinds of deals among competing players in the future, so that there would be no chance of fixing a race for profit.