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
  • Samh1979
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Don’t fall foul of Arren Safavi from Lancashire decking. He looks and acts all professional however once the deposit is paid that’s him doing a…
    22 April 2022
  • Dia
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I just received a call from someone saying from Sky not sure if it was genuine. Asked me for my address. Then my bank details, then my password for my…
    2 April 2022
  • Pepper
    Re: Scams And Seniors
    Scammed out of £12500 by a builder who has been to court several times. I paid by my debit card, have I any chance of getting compensation. I am…
    9 September 2021
  • snobbs
    Re: Builder's Scams
    We have been scammed by James Hookey & Libby Hookey... advertised for a roofer on fb, Libby contacted me to say James can help... he came quoted,…
    6 July 2021
  • Villager
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I received a call from ‘Sky’ this week saying I had overpaid and was due a refund. This seemed fairly plausible as the day before I had telephoned Sky…
    10 June 2021
  • Sam
    Re: Builder's Scams
    Don't use Martin Jacques from swift cavity clear or swift building services based in Manchester.He did a awful job of my garden and charged thousands.
    1 June 2021
  • John
    Re: Bank Identification or BIN numbers Scam
    Okay I just don’t want to euryeurueiieoeoe you talking about to sleep or sleep no sleep sleep no cap on sleep and…
    6 May 2021
  • 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