Point shaving

In organized sports, point shaving is a type of match fixing where the perpetrators try to prevent a team from covering a published point spread. Unlike other forms of match fixing, sports betting invariably motivates point shaving. A point shaving scheme generally involves a sports gambler and one or more players of the sports team favored to win the game. In exchange for a bribe, the player or players agree to ensure that their team will not "cover the point spread". The gambler then wagers against that team.
Basketball is a particularly easy medium for shaving points because of the scoring tempo of the game and the ease by which one player can influence key events. By deliberately missing shots or committing well-timed turnovers or fouls, a corrupt player can covertly ensure that his team fails to cover the point spread, without causing them to lose the game (or to lose so badly that suspicions are aroused). Although the NCAA has adopted a zero tolerance policy with respect to gambling activity by its players, some critics believe it unwittingly encourages point shaving due to its strict rules regarding amateurism, combined with the large amount of money wagered on its games. The NCAA has produced posters warning of this, the most notable being an athlete sitting alone on a bench with his face buried in his hands (although this may also look like the athlete suffered a tremendous defeat) with the caption "DO NOT BET ON IT" with warnings as to what could happen if they are involved in such a plan (as well as an athlete being caught gambling himself).
Famous examples of this are the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal of the 1950-51 and the Boston College basketball point shaving scandal of 1978-79, which was perpetrated by gangsters Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke.
The technique has been used by both amateur and professional athletes in many other sports. The intention is to manipulate scoring so that the final score results in a predetermined outcome. A typical sports game should always tend to behave in a nondeterministic manner. In other words, the exact final score of a game exists in a set which can contain more than a thousand possible combinations. Furthermore, nondeterminism suggests that the final score of a sports game is practically unpredictable.
Many variables can influence the outcome. Such variables include weather, fatigue, and human error. However, amateur and professional athletes who are very skilled in the technique of point shaving can consistently create unlikely outcomes in bad weather and other challenging conditions. In many cases, the deviation in the predetermined outcome is so large that athletes on opposing teams must cooperate in order to achieve the desired result. These unlikely outcomes tend to create huge financial gains/losses in prediction markets.[1]
In the past, small bookies saw large profits in small point shaving schemes; however, the conspiracy has reached new levels in present day sports. According to the 1999 Gambling Impact Study, an estimated $80 billion to $380 billion was illegally bet each year on sporting events in the United States. This estimate dwarfed the $2.5 billion legally bet each year in Nevada.[2]
Unfortunately, such an enormous amount of illegal activity makes organized sports a likely candidate for corruption. On August 15, 2007, an NBA referee, Tim Donaghy, plead gulity to two felonies related to wagering on games that he officiated. And despite providing strict regulations for its participants, organized sports has shown little to no interest in legalizing the sports gambling industry which continues to remain highly unregulated and illegal for the most part in the United States.

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