All New Jersey sportsbooks have been instructed to suspend betting on table tennis in Ukraine after potential match-fixing alerts earlier this week.
The directive came from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement following a notice from the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association suspending approval for wagering on all table tennis events in the European country, as well as any matches involving specific players regardless of location.
With suspensions of almost all major American team sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, betting on obscure international sports, such as table tennis, have become increasingly popular at US sportsbooks, with hundreds of thousands of dollars wagered on matches daily.
"While there is not yet any evidence that any match fixing occurred in New Jersey, due the nature of the alert, the Division [must withdraw] wagering approval for all table tennis events in Ukraine, including but not limited to the Setka Cup, WIN Cup and TT Cup,” said the gaming enforcement division in a notice provided to sportsbooks.
A report released by ESPN found several irregularities with table tennis leagues in both Ukraine and Russia, including the Setka Cup. Additionally, the president of the Ukrainian Tennis Table Federation (UTTF) urged that Setka Cup matches be suspended due to the pandemic, saying that anyone who played was subject to disqualification from future UTTF competitions. The UTTF later disqualified 365 players for competing in matches during the pandemic.
However, it was those matches not overseen by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) that provided the biggest concern due to ambiguity over match regulation.