Home > Famous Scams > The Floodlight Failure Betting Scam

The Floodlight Failure Betting Scam

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 7 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Scam Football English Football

No matter how much some fans (and managers) might complain about refereeing, English football really has an enviable reputation for integrity. Around the world the Premier League is known and respected as one of the top, and one of the toughest, leagues. That made it a perfect target for scammers who wanted to subvert and fix results in a betting fix, since no one would have thought it really possible.

It all revolved around a major difference in betting systems between Britain and Asia. In the UK, if a football match has to be abandoned before the final whistle for some reason, then all bets are literally off. In Asia, if the match is in the second half when it’s abandoned, then there’s a payoff on the result as it stands when abandoned.

How The Scam Worked

At its heart the scam was elegantly simple. Those behind it would simply arrange a floodlight failure in the second half of night games at the point when the score was where they wanted it (although, it must be said, they made no attempt to subvert players to influence the scores). It wasn’t done often enough to raise suspicion – there were just two completed instances – but with large enough bets in each instance, that wasn’t necessary; there could be some very serious money made on each match.

It all originated in Malaysia, where betting on the Premier League has always been popular. There were two occurrences in 1997, the first when West Ham played Crystal Palace and the floodlights suddenly failed after the Hammers had equalised, and the second when Wimbledon played Arsenal and the lights failed after half time with the scores tied.

No one suspected anything. After all, electrical problems did happen, and in the darkness fixing them quickly was almost impossible, so there was no option but to abandon the matches.

How The Scam Went Wrong: A Study

Any scam requires the involvement of people, and the more people, the greater the risk. For the third floodlight scam, which was to happen at Charlton Athletic’s ground when they played Liverpool in February 1998, the trio involved – two Malaysians and a man from Hong Kong – needed inside help from Charlton Athletic security staff. They suborned one man with a £20,000 bribe – and the size of that is an indication of just how much money was involved in this scam, believed to be a staggering £30 million – but things fell apart when he tried to involve another security guard.

The police were tipped off, and were waiting as the trio and the security guard arrived with equipment to sabotage the floodlights. Everything would have been in place, and then have been tripped remotely three days later during the game.

Instead four men were taken into custody. However, at the point the police had no suspicion that there had been more than this single match involved. It was only when they searched the suspects’ hotel rooms and discovered the names of West Ham and Wimbledon employees that they realised this had been going on for a while, although they’d discovered enough equipment among the Malaysians’ possessions to disrupt another eight games.

What It All Meant

The arrest of the conspirators broke up a very carefully organised ring, one that had planned its actions subtly and carefully – and even then it was sheer luck that the police found out it involved more than one game. Although it affected Asian betting, it thankfully left no slur or question mark on English football, and precautions were put in place to ensure it couldn’t happen again.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Scallywaggle
    Re: Builder's Scams
    I have been scammed by a man called James hookey, and his wife Libby hookey, from face book, asking for recommendation, for patio, The wife sends a…
    5 April 2021
  • don’t know
    Re: Vishing Scam
    Had a text message this morning form a mobile number saying that I’ve missed a delivery and that I needed to pay 1.50 to R.M. Lucky enough my iPhone…
    17 March 2021
  • d.a.smith
    Re: Builder's Scams
    DNF Builder and Plastering, based in North East (Newcastle/Gateshead/South Shields/Sunderland), run by David (Mancunian) and Ian. ***Do not…
    28 February 2021
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like you to email me and tell me how to delete my profile coz I cannot afford it
    20 November 2020
  • Fari
    Re: How Can I Delete My Profile From Dating Site?
    I would like to delete my vegan dating profile asap
    20 November 2020
  • Susan Smith
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just received a call from Newport UK 01633489553. Allegedly Sky, telling me that I have problems with my Internet and it was to be deactivated in 4 days…
    18 November 2020
  • Lynn
    Re: Vishing Scam
    I received an email from Royal Mail regarding a missed letter from HM customs there was a link to reschedule and I clicked on it and it was a form but…
    13 November 2020
  • Rouge1
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just a had call from someone for thay for sky calling my my broadband but sky aways asked you got Security question first
    31 October 2020
  • Titch
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a call from 03450522989 recmy sky maintainance. Saying I was paying far to much a year. We agreed a password. She asked my last 4 fidgets from…
    27 October 2020
  • Sean Trinidad
    Re: Visa Credit Card Scam
    Hey im her for a crediit card i am a bissnise mann and i do a lot of things
    7 October 2020