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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Online bettors alleged to have exploited scoreboard delay

Reuters

ANTWERP, Belgium -- Three men were removed by organizers at the Diamond Games after they were found to be gambling via laptops from the stands, a spokeswoman for the event said on Tuesday.

"Three spectators were removed. The two Russians and one German were holding a laptop and logged on to a gambling Web site were gambling on ongoing matches," said spokeswoman Katia Stroobants.

Tennis has been dogged by allegations of match-fixing and illegal gambling in the past year. Several male players have said they were approached to fix matches while betting exchanges have noted irregular patterns.

The spokeswoman said those who were asked to leave the Sportpaleis in Antwerp late on Monday were allegedly "exploiting the delay between the time a point was won and the time it appeared on the official tournament Web site."

A spokeswoman for the WTA tour said the decision to remove the men was taken after consultations with the governing body.

"The WTA takes a zero tolerance approach to this issue," she said. "The men were asked to leave or hand over their laptops and they decided to leave with their computers. Unfortunately we do not have any other powers."

The tournament started on Monday with local favorite Justine Henin leading the field. The world No. 1 begins her quest for the title on Thursday.