Point shaving is a form of match fixing that is common in many types of competitive sports. Essentially, the purpose of point shaving is to arrange for players on a team to intentionally not cover the established point spread that is projected for an upcoming game. This is accomplished by either failing to score points by failing to complete a play properly, or by scoring so many points that the point spread is exceeded. In both cases, the instigator of the point shaving scheme usually benefits from bets placed on the sporting event.
In order to entice players to participate in a point shaving scheme, a gambler may offer a wide range of incentives. Commonly, the incentive involves the promise of a large sum of money that is paid to each player who commits to the scheme. The payment terms often involve paying a percentage of the agreed upon sum prior to the game, with the remainder paid in full after the game is successfully fixed or thrown to the advantage of the gambler.
Money is not always the only incentive offered by gamblers. In some cases, offers of employment, property, or assistance of some type to family members of the players may be extended. It is also not unusual for point shaving to occur because a gambler has uncovered secrets about one or more players that they do not want revealed to the general public. The type of incentive offered always benefits the player in some manner.
Many sports have adopted a zero tolerance policy when it comes to point shaving. If a player is identified as a participant of a point shaving scheme, he or she is subject to a wide range of disciplinary measures. These include a period of probation or dismissal from the team. College sports players who engage in point shaving or often removed from the team and lose sports scholarships. Expulsion from the college is also a possibility. Players with professional teams often lose their contracts and may be blackballed from active play with any other team.
Players caught participating in a point shaving scheme may face legal repercussions as well. Along with civil suits filed by sports leagues and team clubs, criminal charges may also be a possibility. While the enticements offered by gamblers to players in organized sports are often very attractive, they usually are not enough to cover the losses incurred if the player’s activity is uncovered.