The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is cracking down on table tennis betting opportunities in New Jersey. This comes after the state was alerted about potential match-fixing taking place in Ukraine.
The Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association alerted the Gaming Enforcement Division on Thursday, and the odds were immediately pulled off the table. Individual players were named in the alert, but the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement decided to shut down all table tennis betting odds.
When New Jersey launched sports betting in 2018, table tennis was not even one of the sports that were available to be bet on. Sportsbooks were looking at unique sporting events to take bets on, and table tennis was a terrific option.
Even though all of the casinos were shut down for more than three months in New Jersey, the state was able to survive the pandemic with their mobile betting options. New Jersey has emerged as a top sports betting market, and they have even surpassed the state of Nevada in some recent months.
New Jersey was the state that was alerted of these match-fixing issues, but Colorado also pulled all Ukranian table tennis odds from their sportsbooks. Colorado launched sports betting on May 1, and their industry has grown quickly as well.
Sportsbooks Turned to Table Tennis During Pandemic
When live sports began to shut down in the United States, sportsbooks immediately started to turn to international sports. The problem was that most international sporting events were also suspended, but table tennis was one of the sports to survive.
Ping pong quickly filled the void that was left by other live sports, and it became extremely popular with sports bettors as well. Other obscure sports were offered as well, but ping pong became the most popular.
One of the biggest reasons that sports bettors quickly turned to betting on ping pong was due to the large number of matches that were available. Ping pong was played daily, and there were several different leagues to choose from.
Bettors were forced to learn the rules of table tennis in a hurry, and oddsmakers had to determine what types of bets to offer. DraftKings reported that in March, over 60 percent of all of their bets taken were on ping pong matches. Other sports betting companies reported similar numbers, but those numbers are expected to decrease with the return of live sports in the US.
Even though sportsbooks were taking bets on these matches, almost none of them were sanctioned events. The International Table Tennis Federation and the European Table Tennis Union both shut down in mid-March, and they only recently began hosting events.
Bettors Aren’t Scared of Questionable Events
Unsanctioned events are being played throughout the world, and sports bettors aren’t afraid of betting on these events. Sportsbooks have even started live-streaming some of these matches, despite them not being regulated.
The setup for these matches is extremely simple, and they appear like it’s just a random competition taking place. The room is tarped off with only the two players and a scorekeeper being present.
The Setka Cup is one of the biggest of these unsanctioned events, and there are daily tournaments that take place. The Ukrainian Table Tennis Federation has threatened to ban players from future sanctioned events if they take place in the Setka Cup.
There have been 365 individuals disqualified due to their participation in the Setka Cup, but this has not scared away sports bettors. One man from Nevada hit a 10-team parlay in March, earning a payout of more than $9,700.