Women’s tour investigate illegal betting
By Mark Hodgkinson
Last Updated: 9:05am BST
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A leading online betting firm admitted last night that they had delayed payment on bets laid on a women's match played in India after becoming concerned about what appeared to be irregular gambling patterns.
Mariya Koryttseva's Kolkata Sunfeast Open quarter-final has come under under scrutiny
The disclosure from ******* is the first time it has been admitted that a contest on the women's tour has come under such close scrutiny. It comes in the wake of revelations, however, that a number of players on the men's tour, including Britain's Arvind Parmar and Belgium's Gilles Elseneer, have turned down approaches to throw matches.
The women's match in question was the quarter-final of a tournament in Kolkata two weeks ago, played by Tatiana Poutchek, the world No 96 from Belarus, and Ukrainian Mariya Koryttseva, ranked 120th. Koryttseva won 6-4, 6-2, but officials at ******* contacted the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to inform them that they were delaying payment as they felt there was reason to investigate what seemed to be suspicious betting patterns during the match.
It is understood that almost £1 million had been wagered on the outcome.
*******, who retain a large fraud and security department, conducted an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the match. However, even though they then felt satisfied to go ahead with all the payments, Andrew Walker, the vice president of the WTA Tour, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that they were "investigating this situation", but emphasised that, "at this time", there was no indication of any wrongdoing on the part of the players or their entourages.
Since 2005, ******* have had a memorandum of understanding with the WTA Tour, which means that the bookmakers alert the governing body about any suspicions they might have. Mark Davies, *******'s director of communications, said he believed that it was the first time that they had looked at a women's match so closely.
"We need to be certain that the markets are clean," Davies said. "We delayed settlement. We then settled as normal. We wanted to check that we were happy, and in the end we were."
In August, ******* refused to pay out on more than £3 million of bets which had been put on the outcome of Nikolay Davydenko's match against a little-known Argentine player at a tournament in Poland. Davydenko, the world No 4 from Russia, retired from the match in the third set after citing an injury, and he is presently being investigated by the ATP.
"We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to gambling-related activity," added Walker, "and we have been in close contact with ******* and are investigating this situation. To be clear, at this time there is no indication of any wrongdoing by anyone."