How an Italian Betting Scandal With Athletes Has Unfolded

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( — November 2, 2023) — Not many sports fans could predict the current situation for Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. Only months after the Italian soccer player joined the club, the $67 million signing was being investigated by prosecutors in Italy. According to Italian news, Tonali had allegedly gambled illegally, which would lead to a football ban. This is not the only case, as other Italian soccer players have been accused of illegal gambling. 

Placing Bets On Sports Online

Sports betting is a pastime that has gained greater popularity in several countries after governments legalized online sportsbooks. An example of a sportsbook is betway, an international site that offers different types of sports betting, such as soccer, basketball, and hockey. The reason why Betway is becoming increasingly widespread is due to the convenience and bonuses that in-person betting doesn’t offer. 

When looking at reports from various gaming commissions, it is clear that online sports betting is on the way to surpass betting in physical casinos. By placing bets on online sportsbooks like Betway, players have the opportunity to try different sports, get the most precise analyses, and make use of favorable bonuses. 

The Scope of The Scandal 

It caused a shock wave in the soccer industry when it was revealed that Sandro Tonali had engaged in illegal gambling. While the Italian Football Federation announced that they would ban him from soccer for ten months, he will miss the rest of his club’s season, as well as Euro 2024, if Italy manages to qualify.

However, the scandal didn’t begin with Tonali. Back in August, a controversial media figure claimed that another famous soccer player in Italy suffered from problem gambling. The player in question was Juventus’ midfielder Nicolo Fagioli. 

In October, he was being investigated by public prosecutors, as it was believed that he was playing on illegal online betting platforms. As a result, he was suspended for a year and received a fine. Tonali became a part of the discussion, as Fagioli claimed that he was introduced to the illegal betting platforms by his Italian teammate. Tonali also placed bets on games with his teams, although there was no element of match-fixing since he didn’t bet to lose. 

Besides Fagioli and Tonali, their Italian teammate Nicolo Zaniolo was also under investigation. The scandal has shocked the Italian soccer industry and there has been talking about banning betting for professional athletes. 

Other Scandals in Sports

Even though the scandal was a shocker, this isn’t the first incident where a professional athlete has engaged in illegal gambling. For example, the NFL suspended five players in the spring, as they had wagered on non-NFL games. In Iowa, 41 athletes from The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are under investigation for betting violations. Therefore, sportsbook operators have argued that the solution to clean gambling is to legalize sports wagering since it would hinder game-fixing. 

Playing Responsible And Safe 

As some experts have indicated, they believe professional athletes should not be allowed to place bets, as it can affect the outcomes of games. However, they should also receive help if they are dealing with problem gambling. Although some professional athletes have gambled illegally, there is a stress on responsible gambling for regular players as well. Placing bets via a legalized sportsbook is the way to ensure responsible gambling. These sites are regulated and monitored by authorities, which isn’t just an advantage for gaming commissions but for players and operators as well. 

When players place bets on a legal site, they also won’t experience cheating or game-fixing, affecting their experience positively. For the operators, following the rules from a respected regulator is also how to make players more comfortable when placing bets, as they will feel more protected from legal liabilities.