The Referee Scandal is casting long Shadows on ODDSET and the DFB

Rechtsanwalt Dr. Wulf Hambach

Hambach & Hambach Rechtsanwälte
Haimhauser Str. 1
D - 80802 München
Tel.: +49 89 389975-50
Fax: +49 89 389975-60
The Croatian who was accused in the course of the referee scandal in German football concerning Robert Hoyzer is said to have received no less than 3.84 million euro from his betting business with the state sports betting provider ODDSET. This was recently reported by the Süddeutsche Newspaper who quoted the internal schedules of the State lotteries company and those before the Berlin Public Prosecutor. According to this, Oddset is supposed to have taken in a total of 816 500 euro in 2004 despite the suspected manipulation by Ante S. Though Oddset had introduced specific freezes on high wagers in 2001, Ante S., who has been remanded in custody since the end of January in Moabit, could clearly get around them.

The susceptibility of the state sports betting provider, ODDSET to manipulation and the state gambling provider’s cover-up tactics which were exposed by the referee scandal are not without consequence.

In an unusually open press release by the General Public Prosecutor (Generalstaatsanwaltschaft) (PM 15/2005) on the “Hoyzer Case”, the Law Enforcement Department (Strafverfolgungsbehörde) was openly critical of the state gambling providers:

„(…) The claims in the press releases from the DKLB (Note: state gambling provider of the State of Berlin) from the 8th of January 2005, that the criminal detectives had already, in August 2004, been alerted to fraudulent manipulation and irregularities in football bets based on the suspicions against Ante S, are false.

What is correct – as the remarks of the DKLB of the 6th of October 2004 themselves verify – is rather that the criminal detective was advised that the cheques and sequence of payments investigated by her led back to Ante S.’s regular winnings. Mr. S was one of the DKLB’s “known gamblers who regularly placed high wagers and had recently made high gains including in mid-September 2004.”

What was not disclosed was that the suspicion of fraud to the disadvantage of DKLB was present and that it was suspected that games were being manipulated by Ante S. acting in conjunction with the DFB-referee Hoyzer.

The greatly misleading information was communicated by an employee of the LKA who stated that the flow of money indicated to be unusual by the Bank was a result of regulated betting gains not criminal actions.

The unusual and incomprehensible information policy of the DKLB has delayed the true facts of the case being recognised by at least four months. (…)“

In addition, research by the ARD (Allgemeine Rundfunkanstalten Deutschlands, German Media Channel) that the Criminal Investigation Department had by no means informed Oddset in August that there were insufficient suspicious facts on which to proceed further but this was exactly what the DKLB had claimed on the 8th of February 2005.

After the concealment of facts by the Berlin state gambling provider came to light, the tireless repetition by the gambling monopolists that only the state would be in a position to ensure manipulation safe and consumer-fair gambling, appears ludicrous …

The Lower House of the German Parliament (Bundestag) is finally dealing with the clear inconsistencies of the state gambling provider. On the 9th of March 2005, the first agenda item was called the 49th Session of the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag. “Report on the Betting Scandal”. A member of the Committee found particularly clear words: “I don’t understand why the DFB and the criminal police didn’t take the initial suspicions seriously. The indications could not be overlooked. They took cover with the DFB. A written notice by Oddset to the police would have been badly necessary.”

According to dpa-reports (German Press Agency Reports), the committee member, Peter Dankert (SPD) pointed out in a sitting of the Bundestag that the sports betting system could be shortly approaching a reorganisation. „The Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) will next decide whether private providers may firmly establish themselves on the German market” said the politician. Dankert is already suggesting how a privatisation could appear: “If we were to give out licences with the title of official sponsor of German sport and yield 25 million euro from each licensee for sport then it would be ensured that sport would also get something from this billion euro business. We must get involved in the interest of fair sports betting“.

Recently the MEP, Holger Krahmer (FDP) claimed “I hold the Gambelli Decision of the European Court of Justice to be correct and valid.” The politician went on to say: “Germany can no longer insist on its state gambling monopoly. Instead of this, reasonable national mechanisms must be created to prevent betting fraud and to combat gambling addiction.”

One can justifiably fully support this view of the necessity of getting involved in the interest of a fair, open and regulated sports betting market.