Micro-betting could destroy sports

Many in the industry claim that the technology has become too foolproof for such scandals to arise, that any betting irregularities will be automatically sniffed out by sophisticated AI. But this seems likely to apply mainly to events like the Black Sox scandal, when the World Series is on the line, or when massive sums of money are wagered in one direction, triggering alarm bells. Players (or coaches, or, perhaps most likely, referees) shaving points or missing shots or giving up free layups could and will happen in microforms all around the country.

And that’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be a scandal of Black Sox scope to eat away at what people love about sports. The whole point of athletic competition is that it’s on the level. Elite athletes trying their best at every moment is the entire premise. Even if you find that too romantic or naive, sheesh, the only reason people bet on sports in the first place is that they’re supposed to be legit. (This is why you can’t bet on WWE matches. Yet, I suppose.) When you take away that fundamental element of fair competition, sports cease to have any meaning whatsoever. You have to believe.