Amateur hour

Betting on amateur games is illegal in France, but unregulated operators such as 1XBet still offer live, in-play odds on French youth and amateur games. Data collection agencies, at least one of which is employed by the French FA and UEFA, use loopholes to sell data needed by gambling companies.

By Philippe Auclair

France has some of the world's strictest regulations when it comes to sports gambling, as bets can only be placed on games played by professional teams from the top two divisions or at the latter stages of its national Cup competition. Yet European and Asian unregulated and illegal gambling operators are offering live, in-play odds on French amateur and U19 football matches.

The 2022-23 season was one to remember for RC Pays de Grasse, a National 2 club which reached the round of 32 of the French Cup for the first time in its 72-year history. Luck deserted the 4th division amateurs at this stage, when their visitors, Rodez of Ligue 2, shaded it 5-4 on penalty kicks after being held to a 0-0 draw. There was still plenty to be proud of for manager Loïc Chabas and his players. What they didn't know was that, thousands of miles away from their stadium of La Paoute, unregulated and illegal gambling platforms such as Asian-facing SBOBET and 188bet, as well as Cyprus-based 1XBet, which is black-listed in France and many other European countries, were taking bets on their most important match of the season, as they were taking bets on every other game played at this stage of France's oldest competition. Reims's win over amateur side Les Herbiers, for example, was offered live, in-play, on almost every market imaginab...

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