Illegal Betting Ring Used Satellite Tech to Get Scoop on Results

Written by

Police are celebrating after busting a suspected illegal betting and match-fixing ring which used advanced technology to find out the results of matches before bookmakers.

The investigation began as far back as 2020, when Spanish police identified a criminal Romanian and Bulgarian network suspected of placing suspicious bets on international table tennis events.

They would corrupt the athletes involved, including several playing for football teams in Romania, and then place massive bets on the outcome of the games, Europol said.

However, police subsequently uncovered another tactic used by the organized crime gang. It would use satellite technology to receive live feeds from games before the same content would reach legitimate bookmakers. The gang would then be able to place bets on games, knowing the results, Europol explained.

Read more on sports sector threats: Sporting Fans Heavily Targeted by Bad Bots This Summer

The gang apparently used this tactic to target Asian and South American soccer leagues, Bundesliga games, the UEFA Nations League, the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and the ATP and ITF tennis tournaments.

The group placed their bets in the names of other people, to avoid suspicion. These mules collected winnings on their behalf. The group also corrupted a trader at a major betting company in order to secure the successful validation of the bets, police claimed.

Spanish police led the operation, supported by Europol, Interpol, the Spanish Tax Agency and Romanian Police. Some 23 suspects were arrested, including the suspected leader of the organization.

Four houses were searched, and seizures included two properties, three luxury vehicles, two large satellite dishes and signal receivers, 47 bank accounts, 80 phones, cash and €13,000 in counterfeit banknotes.

“Organized crime groups will exploit the tiniest of gaps given the opportunity. In this case, we’re talking about a 20 or 30 second advantage that led to significant gains,” said Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock.

“Successful operations such as the one led by Spain only reaffirm our engagement in ensuring our entire suite of notices, databases and expert networks fully support police in closing these gaps.”

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?