Many an evil overlord who had his start playing fast and loose with the rules out on the playing fields of youth will be gratified to know that they can maintain their villainous edge and earn a handsome commission at the same time doing much the same thing with the adult version of those very same diversions. The business of pitting professional game-players against one another in a nominally fair and honest arena is one which cannot be ignored by the evildoer interested in a self-contained cash stream that is easily manipulated to one's personal benefit. The beautiful thing about this evil scheme is that by cheating, you make it possible for some other sports team to realize their noble dreams of conquest, and, through them, for their fans as well. Seldom does an evil villain's work tie in so closely with the fondest aspirations of common folk, with such rich irony to boot.
- Choosing an arena. The profit you can expect to realize depends on the sport you are subverting, as they all have their own personality as to the size of the pot, the type of betting action going on, the difficulty of discovering suspicious action, and the amount of illegal activity already going on. Your own temperament and need for funds dictate whether that it is important that you dominate the proceedings or whether you will be content to work in the background taking a more modest cut.
- The proposition. In addition to the traditional schemes of convincing a team to taking a dive, point-shaving, tanking, fudging the rules, it is possible to corrupt an entire sport so as to water down or ignore their own rules, or to skim profits off of a good team so they appear to be losing money for tax purposes, or to peddle substandard merchandise with the athlete's name and likeness on it. What sets these schemes apart from the normal sort of business corruption is the way your mark (the fans) will overlook what is in front of them, so besotted with their team they have grown.
- Keeping the books clean. In order to perpetuate your scam for as long as possible, considerable ingenuity in cooking the financial records may be required. If you have a steady supply of unmarked cash from your other activities, keeping the infusions from leaving a trail will be fairly straightforward for any villain who maintains a basic degree of order. Some have found it helpful to incorporate non-monetary inducements to tempt the players and staff: drugs, sex, power, prestige, and any other items of value you can dispense discreetly. Also, a dishonest accountant with a creative mind is invaluable in many situations you will find yourself in.
- Tending the governing bodies. Most of the long-established major sports have governing bodies which maintain standards of fairness, test for shady activity, and generally impede the free and easy operation of whatever scam you are hoping to pull. Oftentimes there are only a few very powerful persons at the top who need to be subverted to give you that valuable latitude you need, at a surprisingly modest price. The more hidebound and obscure the sport the better, not only by decreasing the number of eyeballs watching, but by lulling the average person into the thought that traditions are being upheld by the baffling proceedings unfolding right in front of them.
Strokes of genius
- Maximizing productivity. Sometimes your deceit can accomplish two ends at the same time, such as when you convince a bicycle team to crash off a course onto the practice field for the local pro football team, bolstering your betting position against both franchises at once. These are the kinds of elegant fixes that make their way to the evildoer’s hall of fame.
- Mutants. Sometimes the desired level of superiority in the sport is not achievable through natural means, and it is best to turn to altered humans to ensure that the edge is secure. To maintain the betting interest against these ringers, you must often endeavor to pass these individuals off as just normal young folks so it is always a good idea to invest heavily on those human interest pieces that concentrate on a budding talent. The judicious administration of surgical interventions at a critical betting period can also cool down overheated odds assigned on popular stars.
- Medical technology. The range of surgical, pharmaceutical, and artificial enhancements is increasing with every week. The key thing is to keep the true nature of these under wraps so as not to let the crowds know the losing proposition they are backing. Some technologies that have been developed allow the creator to program in a random element to mask the strange superhuman faculties which would otherwise show up in a glaring fashion.
- Pennant fever. Postseason activity generally boosts all sorts of gaming activity. This is the time when the very best position to take is the one right in the middle, as the bookmaker skimming “vig” off of every sucker blinded by the chance for a season’s worth of glory. This neatly avoids the problem of teams and stars becoming suddenly “unbought” despite advances and promises which have been delivered to them once they catch sight of some chance at lasting fame.
Traps for mere fools
- Marked bills.
- Unwanted media attention.
- Pity for the marks.
- Dishonest horses.
Precious and needful
- Sports bookie network.
- Blind referees.
- Exploding jockstraps.
- Syringes. Buy in bulk.
- Media guides.
- Moneybags. XXL or larger.
- How to control the governments of the world
- How to get rid of a corpse
- How to interest young people in evil
- How to lie to someone's face
- How to make the world live as one
- How to lead barbarians to their doom
- How to win at dice
- How to give everyone their heart's desire
- How to run a virtual world
- How to become the richest being in the Solar System
- How to peddle evil products
- How to earn money part-time
- How to run an institution of higher learning
- Image credit Killerspiele / First Person Shooter by 96dpi
- Image credit Winsor McCay, 1930 by Alan Light
- Image credit The loose women by flashboy