Betfair Calls All Bets Off at ATP Match in Poland

3 August 2007

In an unprecedented move, online betting exchange Betfair on Thursday voided all wagers placed on an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tennis match, pending an investigation into irregular betting patterns.

The second-round match at the Prokom Open in Poland, between top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko and low-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello, brought in $7 million in wagers mostly favoring Arguello to win, though he had lost the first set, according to the company.

The match was eventually suspended when Davydenko pulled out with a foot injury, at which point he was losing to Arguello.

Mark Davies, Betfair's director of communications, told the Houston Chronicle that based on the match and the betting prices, which were unusually high, the company had to do what was fair in the interest of integrity. He also said Betfair would return the stakes to the bettors.

Betfair holds a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ATP under which the two organizations exchange information. Betfair has similar MOUs with other professional sports organizations.

Davies said Betfair would turn over its betting records for the ATP to investigate.

This is not the first time Betfair has seen fit to investigate unusual betting patterns in tennis. During last year's Wimbledon, the company contacted the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) after an exorbitant amount of money was wagered on an opening-round match. Betfair reported that up to £340,000 was bet on the favored Carlos Berlocq of Argentina to lose just hours before he did.