Newcastle Would Have Had an Extremely Difficult Time Finding of Tonali’s Gambling Addiction, Former Scotland Yard Detective Says

Newcastle Would Have Had an Extremely Difficult Time Finding of Tonali’s Gambling Addiction, Former Scotland Yard Detective SaysAs critics have begun scrutinising Newcastle United for going through with Sandro Tonali’s £55 million transfer last July without finding that he was struggling with gambling addiction, the sports website Training Ground Guru (TGG) reached out to former Scotland Yard Detective Neil Whitbread for his insight into how clubs vet players and how Newcastle handled the transfer. Whitbread currently serves as Investigations Manager at the intelligence services firm FACT. According to Whitbread, it would not have been easy for Newcastle to find out that anything was amiss, both in terms of Tonali’s addiction and his violations of the Italian Football Federation’s rules.

As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the English Football Association (FA) found Tonali guilty on 50 counts of misconduct for partaking in illicit sports betting while he was playing for Newcastle. These breaches of FA rules were not his first experience with gambling, however.

Not Even AC Milan Was Aware of Tonali’s Gambling Issues

Not Even AC Milan Was Aware of Tonali’s Gambling Issues”Tonali’s participation in Newcastle matches was cut short after an investigation conducted by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) revealed that he had wagered on football games, own-team matches included, during his time with AC Milan. This resulted in a ten-month ban from professional football, shortened from the usual three-year-minimum after he admitted guilt and agreed to be treated for gambling addiction.

It should be noted that in a statement issued after the FIGC made Tonali’s predicament public, AC Milan’s manager, Stefano Pioli, stressed that he had not known of Tonali’s betting habits. The club itself denied having had prior knowledge of the gambling-related issues, and claimed that AC Milan had first become aware of the situation “through media reports.”

Online Gambling Is Difficult to Detect

Online Gambling Is Difficult to DetectWhitbread underscored how, nowadays, sports betting is primarily done online through the use of phones. He told TGG that whilst in the past, it would have been possible to recognise players when they went to land-based sportsbooks, those times are “long gone.” Now, a footballer can simply register at a mobile-friendly bookmaker and wager on their smartphone.

As a club or another entity hacking a player’s private email or phone could lead to prosecution, Whitbread claimed that “intelligence research” would have been his personal course of action. This entails reaching out to former teammates or making use of publicly available financial data. He did, however, rule out mandating players to download software on their devices that would check for illegal gambling as a viable option.

In terms of how regulators handle these types of issues, their approach is quite different due to their partnerships with other regulatory entities and the gambling industry. For example, in its rules, the Football Association states that by cooperating with both the UK Gambling Commission and sportsbooks, it is able to find which players partake in illegal wagering. Bookmakers have “sophisticated systems” in place made specifically to detect instances of bets placed by individuals who are breaching FA rules, and they relay this information to the FA.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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