Tuesday 18 August 2020

Maybe Nijman will punt the Dev Tour and risk quarantine OH GOD NO

I made a quick throwaway post yesterday just to pass the time, let people know I've not succumbed to coronacold, just chuck some comments in about what's happening with the darts, and then boom! Wessel Nijman and Kyle McKinstry have been found to have been match fixing, and are subject to bans from the DRA.

This is a bit of a disturbing one, and one that as a blog, whose main purposes include giving betting tips (maybe its primary purpose), I feel the need to address.

The first one is that I've always felt that the whole Modus series of events was a bit weird. There were multiple online events taking place during the main coronacold season - we (eventually) had the PDC Home Tour, we had the Remote Darts League (which I guess given the length of time after the second one made no money for anyone, hence we've not had a season three), but after that, we had Modus's events and not much else.

The odd thing was that they were seemingly just darts for the sake of darts. There was no real tournament structure - they just chucked several of their own non tour card holders against each other (and others, I don't think Jose Justicia, Martin Adams, Boris Koltsov or Paul Nicholson are associated with them, certainly none of them are listed on their list of players, but they all played them at some stage), day in day out, in a streamed environment. That leaves the question as to why?

It's pretty obvious. Professional darts doesn't exist without betting companies. Every single primary sponsor of the PDC is involved in gambling. If Modus was interested in keeping their players in form and that's it, they could have arranged such a thing just on Dart Connect. But no, there's money to be made here. The entirety of the sporting world ground to a halt (for nothing). Bookies were desperate for us to punt on something. Modus *have* to have been getting some sort of royalties for allowing their events to be streamed through bookies everywhere. It's win-win for everyone, right?

Well, no. How much of whatever Modus would have been making would have filtered its way down to the players in the event? I'm guessing next to fuck all. We just go back to the RDL - they had a decent prizepool for a couple of seasons, then nothing since June. How much could Modus have possibly offered the players to keep showing up day in and day out? I've got to guess it'd be barely minimum wage, but unless any player comes out with what they've been paid to play in the events, we'll never know.

As such, while it's obviously wrong, it's understandable why some players would be tempted to take some additional cash. Looking at the two matches I've seen listed, they were both seemingly 5-0 wins. If we assume that the players in question are fairly closely matched (and there's no reason to think that they aren't), then a correct score of a 5-0 sweep would probably be priced in the region of 12/1, if not more. A 7-0 win in the closest matched Premier League game that's next up is 100/1 in comparison. For a player that doesn't have a tour card, in a pandemic situation, with no indication of any actual tournaments where they can generate income, then it's not unreasonable to think that, if you're being offered little in terms of actual show up and/or prize money, then a fair sized sum would be pretty tempting, and fairly undetectable.

Let's do the maths. I want to make £5k from telling Joe Bloggs to lose a match of darts. I chuck him £2k to say lose every leg. That's the same money you'd get from winning a Challenge or Development Tour. There is no reason to think that there is any way that such events, or any events, will happen in the near future. How much would I have to put on to make £7k? If we say it's, I don't know, 14/1 to get whitewashed, that's only 500 quid that I'd need to put on. It's really not that hard to find enough people to put on a fiver here, a tenner there, across enough bookmakers that it wouldn't generate any suspicion. Heck, if there's liquidity on the exchanges then you don't even need to worry about the bookies losing out, as long as they get their commission they don't care.

Modus needs to come out right now and detail what they were paying the players to pay in their events, both in terms of showing up money and prize money. That will give us a huge clue as to what is going on. But for now, the biggest thing that readers can take out of this, which I've stressed continually by not covering them, is DON'T BET ON FRIENDLIES. With nothing ranked at stake, and no indication as to what the players are getting, you've got to think that there's a decent non-zero chance that the games are bent. Just say no kids.

I suppose the most disappointing thing is the players that are involved. Nijman is an up and coming player with a potentially great career ahead of him. McKinstry was able to win more in the UK Open than I make in four months work and certainly isn't towards the end of his career.

I'll be back later with some thoughts about the Grand Slam, but for now, I'll just leave this here.

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