Outdoor Lighting And The Infamous Floodlight Scam

During the Creation of the world, according to the first book of Genesis in the Bible, God decreed: Let there be light: and there was light! And let’s be fair, Adam may never have bumped into Eve if the whole of God’s creation was shrouded in darkness.

In antiquity outdoor lighting consisted of the sun and the moon and but for necessity being the mother of invention it may have remained that way. The Greeks and Romans used oil lamps to light the way or to illuminate the exterior of their homes but it wasn’t until the 19th Century that gas and then electric outdoor lighting was introduced.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is now taken for granted and it’s only noticed when it’s not there, like during a power cut. Power cuts can occur at the most inopportune moments and not just impact you through the lack of street lighting.

Floodlight Scam

Other types of outdoor lighting include Floodlights. Floodlights were not widely introduced at football matches until the 1950s and 1960s. The first match ever to use Floodlights was not in the Football League but a match between local sides at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane in 1878. The four 30ft pylons were placed in each corner of the ground and powered by generators. Floodlight failure occurred occasionally at some football matches but it took a sinister turn in the 1990s with a big gambling scam involving abandonments.

In British gambling, bets are null and void if a match is abandoned at any point. In Asian betting circles however, if the game is abandoned in the second half bets will be paid out on the result at the time that the match is halted. The people behind the scam would arrange for the Floodlights to go out just at the right time, when the score what they had bet on was completed, they would then go and clean up with the bookmakers.

It only happened a couple of times here in the Premiership when matches at West Ham and Wimbledon were hit by floodlight failure when both games were all square. A third attempt was foiled when a bribed security guard at Charlton Athletic was caught out after doing a deal with two Malaysians and a man from Hong Kong. Millions of pounds was gambled in Malaysia on these matches. A fortune could be made instantly so it only needed a couple of matches to be fixed.

Who would have thought that so much money could be made out of simple outdoor lighting?

  • Photograph by Petr Šmerkl [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Foor a great selection of outdoor lighting then head over to the O’Briens Lighting’s online store.