Brit arrested at WTA Finals S'pore in connection with illegal betting
British man arrested, Russian man questioned during WTA Finals S'pore for illegal betting
The spectre of illegal sports gambling may have struck Singapore again, this time in tennis.
The New Paper understands a British national was arrested in connection with illegal betting last week during the BNP Paribas Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals Singapore presented by SC Global at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Responding to TNP's queries, a spokesman for the British High Commission in Singapore confirmed the arrest and said it has provided the man with consular assistance.
The police confirmed that a report was lodged. The Briton is believed to have been arrested during the evening session last Wednesday.
Garbine Muguruza beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 in a singles group match that night before Martina Hingis partnered Sania Mirza to beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 6-4.
TNP also understands a Russian man was questioned by officials from the WTA and the Singapore Sports Hub, which manages the Indoor Stadium, last Tuesday evening.
Maria Sharapova beat Simona Halep in a singles group stage match that night before Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro beat Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 6-2 in a doubles preliminary tie.
In response to media queries, the Sports Hub's senior director of corporate communications and stakeholder management, Mr Jose Raymond, said: "The Singapore Sports Hub enjoys a close working relationship with the Singapore Police Force.
"We will support and assist them in any ongoing investigations."
The WTA did not respond to TNP's queries at press time.
Match-fixing looms large in the world of sports worldwide, especially in football, although tennis has not been spared.
Italian tennis players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace received lifetime bans in August for fixing matches, but Starace was eventually cleared of all charges and Bracciali's ban was reduced to a year.
Another activity known as "courtsiding" is also outlawed in both the men's and women's circuits.
While live score services are available through official channels and providers in tennis tournaments, such updates are sometimes delayed as the umpire, who updates the score, needs to ensure the correct player receives the point.
Also, there is usually a lag between the actual action on court and live television broadcast - punters may be able to beat bookmakers' systems if they are able to put in bets before the odds are adjusted.
As such, some bookmakers use courtsiders who relay scores immediately after a point is made via mobile devices to bookmakers' computer servers.
A Briton, Mr Daniel Thomas Dobson, was charged in an Australian court earlier this year after he was arrested for illegal courtside betting at the Australian Open in January.
Mr Dobson, who was sending live scores to his employers, UK betting agency Sports Data, was released after the prosecution withdrew the charges.
The Remote Gambling Act, which came into effect on Feb 2, prohibits all forms of remote gambling activities in Singapore unless they are exempted.
It is also an offence for remote gambling operators to provide remote gambling services to people in Singapore.