Match Fixing on the Dark Web

Match Fixing on the Dark Web



Jan 19, 2024


  1. This white paper sets out the findings of a three-month investigation conducted by Ankura, for US. Integrity into match fixing on the dark web via a selection of subscription-based and fee services related to betting markets. It concludes that:

  1. The services which were able to be used in this investigation produced insufficient evidence of being linked to match fixing as the outcomes of the ‘tips’ provided did not prove to be reliable.

  2. Increased monitoring of dark web channels would be beneficial to identifying match fixing as this investigation utilized easy-to-access channels relative to the dark web, suggesting that more private, discreet, and reliable channels may exist.[1]

  1. U.S. Integrity is an innovative sports integrity company based in the state of Nevada, in the United States. It offers monitoring services to detect and discourage fraud, match-fixing, game manipulation, and other unethical or illegal betting-related activity. U.S. Integrity was determined to progress the understanding of the threat posed by the dark web to sports integrity. To do so, it partnered with the Sports Advisory practice at Ankura, a leading global advisory and expert services firm.

  2. Speculation about the authenticity of information on fixed sporting events and the existence of specialist sites being sold on the dark web is well documented[2]. The need to be active on the dark web, specifically by participating using credible identities and cryptocurrency, has posed difficulties for sports integrity organizations to explore this. U.S. Integrity and Ankura have therefore aimed to do so to achieve and share an enhanced understanding of this phenomenon.

  3. This white paper is shared openly by U.S. Integrity for the advancement of understanding, collaboration, and cooperation in the field of sports integrity.

[1] “Information exists on the Dark Web related to which matches are fixed but is well-hidden in private groups with strict entry criteria”. That research concluded that no ideal monitoring system currently exists, but suspicious betting patterns may be better detected in the future with the use of big data. See:

The Dark Web

  1. The dark web refers to a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and requires specific software, such as TOR, to access[3]. It provides anonymity to its users and has become a hub for illegal activities, including alleged match-fixing. Engaging in such activities is not only against the law but also supports criminal networks. Top-level websites on the dark web are commonly referred to as ‘Onion sites’[4].

  2. Initial investigations into the dark web by Ankura identified over 20 Onion sites offering either fixed matches or outcomes with a “95% certainty of success”. These sites varied in their branding with many having landing pages that looked professional and authentic, closely resembling legitimate gambling websites.

Figures 1 and 2: Examples of Onion Websites offering either fixed or 95% winning bets.

  1. These Onion sites were marketed on the internet on various ‘chat room’ sites, including Reddit or Quora, or through groups on social media applications, including Telegram. For example, some Telegram groups promoted various closed VIP groups offering fixed matches. As part of the investigation, Ankura joined a number of these groups, paying for enrolment via Bitcoin transfer. Many of the Telegram groups showed a successful bet on a particular sporting outcome through a verification code, authenticating that the bet had been placed in advance of the match being played out (see examples below).


The Investigation

  1. During the three-month investigation, Ankura’s technology team (“the team”) joined or attempted to join 27 Onion sites using credible identities and Bitcoin digital currency. Most of the sites were found to be inactive or unresponsive. Likewise, Ankura joined or attempted to join six closed Telegram channels which proved to either be chat rooms on odds or scams. An overview of these sites and channels is shown below.

Figures 5 and 6: Outcome of attempts to join Onion sites. Of the 27 sites, only 5 sites were active.

Figures 5 and 6: Outcome of attempts to join Onion sites. Of the 27 sites, only 5 sites were active.Figure

Figure 7: Outcome of attempts to join Telegram exchanges.

Figure 7: Outcome of attempts to join Telegram exchanges.

Figure 8: The X Matches onion site promising fixed matches with 100% outcome.

  1. Two Onion sites identified by the investigation team, “X Matches” and “Football Money”, were active and allowed memberships. The team joined both sites at a cost ranging from ₿0.0023 to ₿0.0047 (approximately USD$ 100 to 200). The cost of subsequent ‘fixed matches or outcomes’ purchased ranged from ₿0.0015 to ₿0.012 (approximately USD$ 65 to 500) depending on the odds and match type.

  2. The team purchased a match tip from Football Money for ₿0031 (USD$ 90), which predicted the Full Time Result in an Austrian 2. Liga match between SV Lafnitz and SV Stripfing Weiden. The match did not play out as tipped, and accordingly, the site was designated as a likely scam.

  3. The team purchased a match tip from X Matches for ₿0.0023 (USD$ 65) which predicted the Full Time Result in a German Bundesliga 2 match between FC Hansa Rostock and Holstein Kiel. The match played out as tipped, somewhat against  the odds (odds of 7/4 were offered by Bet365 for the result tipped).

  4. To establish the veracity of the X Matches site following the initial positive outcome, several more tips were purchased from this site. Prices for these tips ranged from ₿0.0014 to ₿0.012 (approximately USD$ 65 to 500). The tips offered differing outcomes such as Full Time Results, Full Time Scores, and Half Time Scores. Tips offering Full-Time Scores were offered at higher prices, dictated by the higher odds offered for the correct result and, in turn, the potential for greater return. The site claimed that these fixes were only made available to a limited number of members to avoid the risk of triggering betting alert systems.

  5. None of the further matches purchased played out as per the tips received from the Onion site (see Figure 9 below).

Figure 9: A full list of tips received from Onion sites Football Money and X Matches

  1. The matches for which tips were purchased were in second-tier leagues across European football. It emerged that there was not a common denominator which might indicate corrupted officials, owners, a team, player(s), or a referee. As a result, it was deemed highly unlikely that the site would have access to such a disparate collection of fixed football.

  2. Enquiries by U.S. Integrity established that there had been no betting alerts on any of these matches. Subsequent attempts made by the team to attain a refund for failing to provide a 100% outcome went unanswered. It was therefore concluded that X Matches was also a sophisticated fraud.


  1. Based on this investigation several findings have been noted:

    a. There exist numerous Onion websites that proport to sell fixed sporting outcomes.

    b. Most of these are either inactive or have been deactivated, perhaps by policing actions.

    c. Of those that were live, several are unresponsive indicating that they are no longer trading.

    d. The few that are trading, proved to be selling random sporting outcomes in European mid-level football leagues. There was no correlation that might indicate corrupted players or officials.

    e. Most ‘tips’ were in line with the odds and had a reasonable chance of playing out.  

    i. However, when high return outcomes were purchased, such as correct score outcomes, they did not play out and accordingly invalidated the Onion site as selling fixed sporting outcomes.

    f. All closed Telegram match fixing channels were either unresponsive or took subscription fees and then became unresponsive. All can be safely regarded as fraudulent.


  1. U.S. Integrity funded the most concerted attempt yet to investigate and penetrate match-fixing Onion sites on the dark web[5]. U.S. Integrity can draw the following conclusions:

    a. The services noted in this investigation did not show reliable evidence of being linked to match fixing.

    b. Increased monitoring of dark web channels would be beneficial to identifying match fixing.

  2. In consideration of prior research and this investigation, the fraudulent nature of some channels does not preclude the existence of more private, discreet, and reliable dark web channels.

  3. It is therefore important that those interested in the integrity of sport continue to explore and monitor the potential of the dark web to facilitate match fixing and proceeds of crime.

To discuss this paper or other sports integrity-related matters please contact U.S. Integrity at:

[5] Outside of any law enforcement actions not in the public domain.


Jonny Gray (Ankura Sports Practice):
Amit Jaju (Ankura Data and Technology Practice):
Sherwin Dsouza (Ankura Data and Technology Practice):
James Michaels (Ankura Sports Practice)
Jason Van’t Hof (U.S. Integrity):
Sebastian Jedrzejewski (U.S. Integrity):

About Ankura  

Ankura Consulting Group, LLC is an independent global expert services and advisory firm that delivers end-to-end solutions to manage conflict, crisis, performance, risk, strategy, and transformation. Ankura has more than 2,000 professionals serving 3000+ clients across 55 countries. Collaboration and experience drive our multidisciplinary approach to Protect, Create, and Recover Valueᵀᴹ. For more information, please visit: