Hello? UCI Ethics Dept? Anybody Home?

Put 1000 Euros on Geert Omloop to repeat as Belgiam National Champion, and that bastard better deliver... Can someone explain to me how Sportsbook.com and MrBookmaker.com can sponsor cycling teams and then offer betting lines to races their teams are competing in? Well, maybe the American Sportsbook.com Women’s Team can get away with it since to my knowledge there’s no online gambling on women’s races, but the European MrBookmaker.com definitely has lines for races its team is contesting and offers odds for its own pros. I just checked today and there are odds on the Belgian National Championships for MrBookmaker.com riders such as Johan Coenen (25-1), Bjorn Leukemans (14-1), Geert Omloop (8.5-1), Jo Planckaert (16-1), and Erwin Thijs (25-1). I’m almost certain that there were odds for some of the Spring Classics such as Tour of Flanders earlier this season, also with odds on MrBookmaker.com professionals. This all seems rather odd to me. Imagine if there was, say, an NBA team based in Las Vegas sponsored by a consortium of casinos called Bet-On-Us.com which offered lines to all the NBA games including their own team’s. Wouldn’t the NBA or the government get a bit suspicious or nervous about malfeasance and corruption? I doubt there’s anywhere near the cash gambled on cycling as there would for big-time American pro sports such as baseball, football, or basketball or more Euro-centric sports like soccer, but it just seems like there’s an obvious conflict of interest when a bookmaking operation directly sponsors athletes in events in which they’re offering odds and taking wagers.

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