Betting & sports investment schemes

Betting and sports investment scams try to convince you to invest in foolproof systems and software that can 'guarantee' a profit on sporting events.

Common examples of sports investment scams

These scams are simply a form of gambling camouflaged as legitimate investments. Most of the schemes or programs do not work as promised and buyers cannot get their money back. In many cases the supplier simply disappears.

Computer prediction software

The scammer will try to sell you a software program that promises to accurately predict sporting results, usually of team sports or horse racing. They will promise high returns or profits as a result of the program's use.

Team sports betting programs claim to identify opportunities based on historical trends and the different odds offered by various bookmakers. Horse racing software will often claim that predictions are based on weather conditions, the state of the horse, the draw, or the condition of the jockey. They may also claim to track the money that has been placed on a race by professional betters.

Often the information used in these programs can be obtained from the betting pages of your local newspaper at very little cost.

Betting syndicates

The scammer will try and convince you to become a member of a betting syndicate. You will need to pay a compulsory fee (often in excess of $15 000) to join and open a sports betting account. You will be required to make ongoing deposits to maintain the balance of the account.

The scammer tells you that they will use funds in the account to place bets on behalf of the syndicate. You, and other 'syndicate members' are promised a percentage of the profits.

Sports investment

The scammer targets small business operators, professionals, retirees or others with funds to ‘invest’. These schemes are usually promoted as business opportunities or investments at trade fairs, shows or via the internet. People may also be contacted via an unsolicited phone call, email or letter.

The scammer will use technical or financial terms such as 'sports arbitrage',' sports betting', 'sports wagering', 'sports tipping' or 'sports trading' to make these scams look like legitimate investments. Promotional material often takes the form of glossy and sophisticated brochures or websites that contain graphs or diagrams promising large returns for little or no effort.

The scammer may also claim that their company is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Warning signs

  • You approached to invest in a money-making opportunity that promises huge returns and risk-free profits.
  • The sales pitch is accompanied by glossy promotional material showing extraordinary returns.
  • The seller uses financial or technical terms to try and sell their product or scheme.
  • You are told places are strictly limited and you need to buy now in order to secure the software package, or your spot in the scheme.
  • You are frequently called by salespeople trying to pressure you into buying the product or joining the scheme.

Protect yourself

  • If you receive a call from someone trying to sell you a sports investment opportunity or prediction software - just hang up.
  • Be wary of high pressure and slick sales tactics, such as reports on past performance and graphs showing high returns.
  • Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about money or investments - get independent legal or financial advice.
  • Conduct an independent check on the company selling the scheme or service - often their postal address will turn out to be a car park and no real office exists.
  • Look out for any ongoing costs associated with the scheme or system.
  • Make sure you know how to cancel any subscription service that you sign up to.

Have you been scammed?

If you think you have provided your account details, passport, or other personal identification details to a scammer, contact your bank, financial institution, or other relevant agencies immediately.

We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.

We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.

Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.

More information

Investment schemes

Investment schemes involve getting you or your business to part with money on the promise of a questionable financial opportunity.

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