Match Fixing and Sports Betting in Football: Empirical Evidence from the German Bundesliga
26 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 2017
Corruption in sports represents an important challenge to their integrity. Corruption can take many forms, including match fixing by players, referees, or team officials. Match fixing can be difficult to detect. We use a unique data set to analyze variation in bet volume on Betfair, a major online betting exchange, for evidence of abnormal patterns associated with specific referees who officiated matches. An analysis of 1,251 Bundesliga 1 football matches from 2010/11 to 2014/15 reveals evidence that bet volume in the Betfair markets in these matches was systematically higher for four referees relative to matches officiated by other referees. Our results are robust to alternative specifications and are thus suggestive of potentially existing match fixing and corruption in the German Bundesliga.
Keywords: Corruption, Betting Exchange, Football, Referee Bias
JEL Classification: D73, K42, L8, Z2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation