Suspicious betting on the up as ESSA highlights fourth-quarter alerts

Suspicious betting on the up as ESSA highlights fourth-quarter alerts

Thursday, February 18, 2016 Totally Gaming

ESSA secretary general Khalid Ali has opened up to TotallyGaming.com about his concerns over corruption in professional sport after the organisation’s Q4 Integrity Report revealed an increase in suspicious betting activities during the final quarter of 2015.

A total of 35 suspicious alerts were registered in the quarter, almost double the number recorded in the previous three-month period (18). Of all the alerts that were picked up in Q4, 24 came from tennis, with eight related to football and one each for ice hockey, snooker and greyhound racing. Although, for a third consecutive quarter, table tennis failed to produce any alerts.

The fourth-quarter figures place the total number of alerts for 2015 at 100, with 73 having been registered on activities linked to tennis, with football in second on 19 alerts.

Reflecting on the figures, Ali told TotallyGaming.com that stakeholders of all kinds should be working together to combat corruption in professional sport.

“The threat of betting related corruption in sport, whilst involving a relatively small number of events, is a real and present issue,” Ali said. “The primary focus of that activity is to manipulate sport to defraud betting operators. ESSA and its members continue to remain vigilant in light of that threat and work with sports to identify and punish those responsible.” 

ESSA also highlighted Europe as the region in which the most suspicious betting took place, with 38 alerts attributed to activities on the continent. Asia followed with a total of 24 alerts, with North America and South America on 16 and 11, respectively.

“Ultimately, we need a range of solutions involving all stakeholders, but in particular we need to see more focus on the impact of good governance in sport and the enforcement of robust rules and sanctions,” Ali said. “We have seen time and time again that effective governance practices are an important barometer of a sport’s level of integrity.

“I would urge all sports and governments to take a close look at the UK Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan as an example of best practice measures in this area.”

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