The Greatest Gambling Scandals in History

Gambling isn’t only about customers’ entertainment. It is a huge global corporation with dozens, hundreds, and already thousands of engaged members who back up its operation and improvement. It is strikingly clear this marketplace is an area of the active fight for serious businessmen and entrepreneurs. The hierarchy of in-market relationships is understandable for service providers, but what turns gambling into business for end users? All risky investments, nonetheless, usually involve one common characteristic: people must feel that they have a possibility of winning. What if, on the other hand, they didn't? How might they react if the tournament was manipulated from the outset, with the conclusion predetermined? That is one of the most heinous offenses in gaming, and it makes fellow members very furious and unhappy. Getting acquainted with such cases will make you more prepared for such unpleasant surprises. Forewarned is forearmed.

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Image The Greatest Gambling Scandals in History


Ridwan Widjaja


The Royal Baccarat Scandal

Scams and fraud approaches aren’t the disaster of modern gambling and gaming only. Back in the nineties of the nineteenth century, a huge scandal in London took place. A lawsuit regarding the heir of the throne, who would eventually become King Edward VII, scandalized the local high society. Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a renowned military hero and friend of the Prince, was caught cheating and responded with a writ of defamation. It was the first time since 1411 that the royal had to appear as a witness in the court personally.

The Royal Court of Justice resembled a theatre of absurd, with people really booking "flights" to attend the momentous event. With the press in full force, it turned out that the entire country was witnessing. And it all happened because of playing Baccarat. To cut a long story short, he failed to protect his innocence. What was a genuine scandal was the fact that the future king was behind implementing the game in the public entertainment pastimes.

The Black Sox of Chicago

This industry has long provided a fair playing ground for ladies and gentlemen to test their mettle, but suspicions of fraud, unfortunately, tarnished the reputations of many outstanding sportsmen. Wagering for real money is also prone to scamming, as sports betting is a popular pastime for several aficionados and supporters.

In the twenties of the twentieth century, one of the largest and most renowned scandals of the kind took place in the USA. The World Series finals were held back then, and one participating team (the name of which you can guess from the chapter’s title) made something unbelievable in the eyes of their fans — eight consecutive losses, even when they competed against less skilled rivals after a previous exceptional season. It appeared that the major part of the team colluded to toss the World Series and achieve significant benefits meanwhile. This fix-matching scenario was maintained with the help of famous Chicago criminal Arnold Rothstein.

The scheme seemed flawless, given the flurry of stakes on the loss of the team’s opponents. However, rumors ruined everything. There were even reporters who highlighted this case. The results of the gathering were marred by skepticism and mistrust, which led to further investigation. The Sox’s pitcher was the first player to admit his involvement in the scheme. From a hidden story, it turned out to be a marvelous scandal. No participant was sentenced to imprisonment, but they had to forget about their baseball career once and forever. A new role in this sport occurred as well — the first commissioner in baseball was Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Since then, the Black Sox episode has become firmly ingrained in the local culture and society in general. You will come across several films and novels, based on this story.

The Ultimate Bet Scandal

Would you like to hear the story of probably the most hated poker player of all time? His path of cheating was something unbelievable. Let us introduce this charming and extremely talented personality (in his vocation, of course) — Russ Hamilton. Thanks to his actions, the ever-increasing popularity of online poker was threatened and damaged drastically and dies down for a couple of years in a row after that infamous scandal:

  1. The poker player attained the pinnacle of his professional success in 1994 when he managed to achieve one million US dollars in the WSP Main Event and made a couple of additional final tables as well.
  2. After acting as an entertainment industry specialist, Russ became an advisor for the electronic poker website Ultimate Bet. There he assisted in attracting prospective and well-established stars to the brand, which was then one of the largest companies of this kind on the internet. He was a pretty successful pundit,  luring well-known professional players as ambassadors and boosting the system's reputation to unprecedented heights.
  3. Hamilton defrauded Ultimate Bet's customers for over twenty-two million US dollars. The former poker professional player got access to a superuser profile via his linking to the network, allowing him to see his rival's hands. In normal conditions, they are non-visible to fellow online gamers. Probably, it is one of the worst nightmares and fears of contemporary poker gamers — no poker face would help win the battle.  A notable expert backed up this claim after a piece of information was disclosed. The "superuser" was likely to bluff when his competitor was vulnerable and fold when getting more powerful positions.
  4. It was discovered in 2008 that several of the workers, headed by former champion Russ Hamilton, had been discreetly looting their customers. This gentleman possessed a total of four profiles through which he could play games. He was caught because of the tape, where his crimes were recorded in his own words.

The platform ceased to exist long ago, yet some court cases have been still ongoing. The only silver lining to the whole ordeal was that it raised the consciousness of difficulties in internet gambling, leading to the current tighter rules.

The Starcraft 2 Match Fixing

Gambling refers not only to typical land-based activities like poker or baccarat and online entertainment such as slot machines. There is a separate category of tournaments and matches, which complement active betting and wagering, namely, eSports. It is a perfect sample of interconnecting real gaming with gambling for real money. Online games and competitions between different gamers aren’t less thrilling to bet on, and the case of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Defense of the Ancients, Hearthstone, and other solutions would be a brilliant sample. There are huge arenas, which unite fans all over the world for unique land-based meetings with gorgeous prize pools.

Unfortunately, this luxury doesn’t deprive the current esports market of conflicts and scandals. Although such crimes are pretty challenging to track, it isn’t Mission Impossible. In 2015, one of the prominent gamers in South Korea was suspected of pocketing over sixty thousand US dollars. The nickname “Life” of Lee Seung Hyun will let you find more information about this personality and his path in Starcraft 2. He was just nineteen years old back then. The following year, another famous persona in the South Korean gaming field was accused of achieving more than twenty thousand US dollars as a reward for losing the match to the opponent consciously. For more detail, search for the activities of Bbyong.

These figures may appear insignificant, but they are just a few samples of comparable episodes to what happens in related gaming and gambling arenas. More dark stories about the iGaming background are going to be revealed and take place in the future. There was an analogous incident in the USA, which happened before the described events in 2015. However, they related to the scandal in the CS:GO industry. In South Korea, where competitive videogames are increasingly becoming a full-fledged business, there must have long been complaints about overburdening gamers. The goal is that rather than tarnishing this innovative athletic area, the catastrophe would act as a shake-things call, resulting in greater credibility in the long run. Admittedly, the desire to correct the situation is the fundamental motivation underlying uncovering gaming incidents.

Wrap It Up

Real money gaming/wagering activity has been around for over four millennia, which proves these formats of entertainment will be on the go for the next couple of eternities in a row. You can bet on nearly everything these days, including slot machines, sporting events, internet contests, or even who would be the president of your country. Sports betting, as well as other wagering formats, is enjoyable and will get more popularity rather sooner than later. New ways of avoiding scams and scandals are expected to be implemented in the global network of esports championships and competition between in-game niches.