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A Big Gamble For Olympic Games

15 September 2000

SYDNEY, Australia - Sept. 15, 2000 -- As reported by The Philadelphia Daily News: "…Please, though, don't get the impression the Games, plagued by drug scandals and corrupt officiating, have somehow been purified by magnificent Sydney Cove. In fact, these shores have added another pimple to the Olympic ideal - legalized gambling.

"…There are odds on just about everything, and that means, beginning Friday, the Olympics. You can bet the Dream Team to win gold, providing you're willing to bet $25 to win a buck.

"…`We don't really know a lot about some of these sports, so we're flying in the dark a bit,' Gerard Duffy, Centrebet's betting manager, said the other day. `We're at a disadvantage to people on the inside, and I'm really quite surprised they're letting athletes and officials bet.'

"… The IOC tried vainly to get Olympic betting outlawed in Australia during the Games, but succeeded only in New South Wales, the province where Sydney is located.

"The ban did nothing. Australia has more than 50 betting agencies, all with phone numbers and many with Internet sites. And the IOC, already stressed to the max enforcing its anti-cheating and corruption mandates, did not even try to police gambling by its athletes, coaches and officials.

"Instead, it is banking on the importance of a gold medal as a corruption buffer. Said IOC spokesman Franklin Servan-Shreiber: `The Olympics is one chance in a lifetime. It is more important.'

"… But what about the minor players? Might a synchronized swimmer take a dive? More to the point, what about the officials - some of whom already are being monitored by the IOC?

"This is really, really true: The IOC, singed by corrupt judging in boxing during past Olympics, will aim closed-circuit cameras at their own judges during these Games. This will ensure that they punch the buttons in relation to punches actually thrown. Especially now that money can be made with a wager or two.

"This is not what the 2000 Olympics need right now…"

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