The consequences of illegal sports betting, whether intentional or not, can be very serious. Aside from the risk of acquiring huge debts, there is the risk of public humiliation for not only yourself but also for your family and team. There is also a serious chance of your professional career in sports being destroyed. By educating yourself about betting laws and regulations you can make sure to avoid situations that put you or your career at risk.
- Know the rules. Ask your team, federation or athletes association what the rules on betting are for basketball in your country. Many sports and countries either have or are developing regulations on sports betting and you need to be aware of these – even if you don’t bet. Underage betting is illegal.
- Never bet on yourself or the opponent. As a professional athlete you must never bet on any game or competition you or your team is involved in because it would be a conflict of interest. If you bet on yourself or your opponents you risk having your image and reputation tarnished, being banned from your sport, losing your job and you may even be subject to a criminal investigation.
- Play it safe – don’t bet on your own sport at all. Betting on other games within your sport may also raise questions. You are likely to be friends with many other basketball players and you are therefore best advised not to make any bets on your own sport to avoid potential problems.
- Be careful about handling sensitive information. As an athlete you will have access to information that is not yet available to the general public, such as knowing that your star player is injured or that the coach is putting out a weak side. This is considered sensitive or inside information. This information is likely to be useful for people betting on your sport who want to secure an unfair advantage. There is nothing wrong with athletes having sensitive information; it’s what you do with it that matters. Passing on information to friends, family or others can get you in trouble, even if there is no obvious reward for you.
- Absolutely never fix a competition. Whatever the reason, do not fix any aspect of a competition. Do not put yourself into a situation which would bring you, or even force you to adversely influence the natural course of a game.
- Report if approached about illegal betting. Whether it’s a straight forward request to fix a game or an indirect proposition for insider information, you should always report it. If you feel that something is not quite right, it usually isn’t. Report this information to your coach, lawyer, player association, your national federation or FIBA.
Please refer to Book 1, Appendix 4 for an up-to-date version of the FIBA Internal Regulations governing Betting and Corruption.