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Online bettors alleged to have exploited scoreboard delay

2/12/2008 - Tennis

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.