Thinking back to how some MLB games were rigged (and games in other leagues also sometimes historically by gangsters paying players to lose,) and I’m wondering which comes first: the loss or the payment?
Both sides have incentive not to hold up their end of the bargain after the deed is done - if the player agrees to lose, and loses, but then the mafia refuses to pay up, the player can hardly take the mafia to court. The player is in greater jeopardy the other way though: If the player accepts the mob’s money, but then wins anyway, then the mafia can hardly take the player to court either to demand a refund (but ***can ***send gangsters to beat the player up.)
Historically, which usually came first, payment or loss?
In the Black Sox scandal, the players evidently were supposed to receive their payments in five installments, one after each loss. But the gamblers failed to deliver the full amount, so after falling to 1-4 the Sox played normally and won the next two games. But some players claimed their families were threatened after that, and they lost the last game 10-5 to lose the Series (which was best of 9 in those years).
The typical pattern would be part of the payment up front and the remainder after performance.
In the Black Sox case, according to Eliot Asinof in Eight Men Out (unsourced and not always reliable), there were two groups of gamblers independently backing the fix–the Arnold Rothstein syndicate, and the Burns/Maharg/Attell syndicate. Rothstein promised $40k up front plus $40k in escrow to be delivered after the Series loss; Burns promised $100k in total, with $20k to be delivered after each individual game was lost. (It was a 5-out-of-9 Series.)
Rothstein was by far the wealthier and more sophisticated gambler, and delivered as promised–almost. Rothstein paid $40k in advance, but his intermediaries withheld all but $10k (which had to be paid to Game One pitcher Eddie Cicotte, who had demanded payment in advance) until after Game 3. After the White Sox won Game 3, and threatened to call off the fix, the intermediaries delivered another $20k, and then also the $40k after the Series was over.
The more amateurish Burns/Maharg group delivered only $10k after the second game and then fell apart. The total of $80k paid to the players, again according to Asinof, went $35k to Chick Gandil, $15k to Swede Risberg, the $10k advance to Cicotte, and $5k each to Lefty Williams, Happy Felsch, Joe Jackson, and Fred McMullin.
I’m guessing there’s probably some front money (maybe like 5% of the promised total), and then the rest is paid when the deed is done. That’s easy in the case of a world series, where the results unfold over a period of days. The hard part is convincing people that the series isn’t being thrown. People are going to notice strange things. Even in the 1919 WS, a lot of people apparently suspected there was a fix.
I would think that the more complicated scenario is point shaving, where you don’t necessarily agree to throw a game but you agree to keep a margin of victory under a certain amount. Basketball’s the only sport I can see it ever being pulled off reliably.