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42 N. Ky. L. Rev. 453 (2015)
The Sports Bribery Act: A Law and Economics Approach

handle is hein.journals/nkenlr42 and id is 471 raw text is: 







                 THE SPORTS BRIBERY ACT: A LAW
                      AND ECONOMICS APPROACH


                    John T. Holden* & Ryan M Rodenberg**

                                   ABSTRACT
    Sports bribery and match-fixing have become a part of the on-going sports
news cycle. European and Asian match-fixing scandals in soccer, cricket and
tennis have rocked the sports world recently. The 1919 Black Sox World Series
scandal and the 1970's Boston College point shaving incidents have illustrated
that the manipulation of sporting events is a global scourge. This paper examines
the corruption cases that led to the 1964 passage of the Sports Bribery Act (18
U.S.C. § 224). We discuss the scope of the statute, its operation with
complementary and ancillary federal and state laws, and the reported instances of
the statute's application. The economic discussion focuses on Becker's model for
optimal deterrence, its application to the Sports Bribery Act, and an examination
of the implications regarding the utility for would-be match-fixers. The paper
concludes with a discussion of the challenges facing a policy change, including
the complexity of regulating both professional and amateur sport, methods of
detection, and jurisdictional issues raised by the global nature of match-fixing.

                                I. INTRODUCTION

    The spread of match fixing has become part of the news cycle in most parts
of the world. Asian and European match-fixing scandals have shocked the sports
world.1 League officials openly discuss the increasing corruption in European

     * John T. Holden is a Ph.D. student at Florida State University. He earned his J.D. from
Michigan State University and his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa.
    ** Ryan M. Rodenberg is an assistant professor of sports law analytics at Florida State
University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Washington-Seattle and Ph.D. from Indiana
University-Bloomington.
    1. In December 2013, 6 people were arrested in the United Kingdom, including a member of
the Blackburn Rovers of the country's premier soccer league. See Simon Hart, DJ Campbell
arrested in connection with football fixing, THE TELEGRAPH (Dec. 9, 2013, 9:03 PM),
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/ 0505343/DJ-Campbell-arrested-in-connection-with-
football-fixing.html. In September 2013, an Indian cricket bowler was banned from the sport for
life for fixing matches at the behest of gambling interests. See Sreesanth: Former India bowler
banned   for  life for   spot-fixing, BBC   (Sep.  13,  2013),  http://www.bbc.com/
sport/0/cricket/24076409. In 2013, Lebanese soccer players received bans for fixing games in a
World Cup qualifying game. See Steve Crossman, Lebanon head coach reveals anger over match
fixing, BBC (Mar. 8, 2013), http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/footbaIlU21718034. In 2011, Turkish
police arrested more than 60 people suspected of being involved in fixed soccer matches. See AP,
Turkish court charges 15 more in Fenerbahce match-fixing scandal, THE GUARDIAN (July 7, 2011),
http://www.theguardian.com/football/2011/jul/O7/turkey-match-fixing. Corruption  in  Chinese
soccer leagues was found to be so rampant that it has been credited with collapsing entire leagues

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