Bribery in sports is not a new phenomenon. Because of the prevalence of this issue, state and federal governments have their own laws regarding the crime.
Bribery in-and-of-itself is a serious offense that warrants up to 15 years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. This is the case at both a state and federal level. It is also true when the crime involves sporting events.
Bribery in athletic contests
Per statute 838.12 – Bribery in Athletic Contests of the 2019 Florida Statutes, bribery in sports can occur in one of two ways. The first is if a person, entity or organization offers, promises or gives a bribe in the form of money, rewards, presents, goods or any other item of value to a participant or anticipated participant of a sporting contest. For the law to consider the offer bribery, the person doing the giving must do so with the intent to sway the participant to lose the contest, throw the contest or reduce the margin of victory.
The second way a person can commit bribery is by accepting money, rewards, presents, goods or other items of value in exchange for the promise to lose or throw a contest or reduce the margin of victory. Both the briber and the person doing the bribing can be any number of people, including but not limited to an athletic participant, referee, coach, manager, family member or fan.
Consequences of bribery during a sporting contest
If the authorities charge a person or entity guilty of giving, offering or receiving a bribe of any kind in relation to a public sporting event, that person or entity faces a third-degree felony conviction. Per Chapter 775 of the 2019 Florida Statutes, a third-degree felony conviction comes with a term of imprisonment that shall not exceed five years. It also comes with a $5,000 fine, or any higher amount equal to or double the monetary gain derived from the offense or the monetary loss the victims suffered.