Why we became an ESSA member - Betway

Why we became an ESSA member - Betway

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Richard Akitt wants to protect Betway's customers

Betway chief executive Richard Akitt says the gambling operator’s success made it imperative that it joined sports integrity organisation ESSA.

Betway, which now has nearly two million registered customers globally, has become the 19th member of ESSA, joining the likes of Ladbrokes, William Hill and PMU in the group that attempts to improve the relationship between the industry and sports authorities in dealing with incidents of suspicious betting.

“Betway is a rapidly expanding brand,” Akitt told TotallyGaming.com. “As our betting volume increases it’s imperative we are signed up to ESSA and benefit from all the controls and measures they have in place to prevent criminal activities, which ultimately affects the average customer as much as the operator itself.

“Thankfully, corruption in sport is a rare occurrence, but it’s imperative that there are measures and safeguards in place to protect bettors and operators in any instance where wrong-doing is suspected.

“By being a member we join a number of leading operators in Europe, and indeed further afield, united in preventing betting corruption.Cooperation is key here and joining ESSA is a proactive approach to help tackle a crime that threatens the integrity of sport.”

Betway certainly seems to have good relations with sport, having signed a £20m (€27.0m/$30.4m) deal to be the new shirt sponsor of English Premier League football club West Ham United, while it is also the title sponsor of snooker’s UK Championship, Premier League Darts and Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

However, while Akitt feels the company has dealt competently with incidents of suspicious betting in the past, it was important that it joined a wider group.

“Our trading team monitor all markets closely," he said. "Any suspicious activity is registered and reported to the relevant authorities.

“Our membership of ESSA ensures that this process now has a focus for cooperation, ensuring that we can act where wrong-doing is suspected.

“We wouldn’t want to refer to specific incidents from the past, although we’d have to say they have been few and far between. ESSA is widely recognised within the industry as having deterred match-fixing through its efforts.”

ESSA is one of the gambling industry’s major representative bodies at national and international match-fixing policy forums and holds positions on working groups at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Last week it revealed that it had been notified of 49 unusual betting patterns by its members in the first quarter of 2015 and had passed on 24 of these to the relevant sporting bodies having deemed them to be ‘suspicious’.

Khalid Ali, ESSA secretary general, said: “I am delighted that Betway has decided to join ESSA. It represents another important step, further increasing ESSA’s ability to protect the betting industry, their customers and sport from betting related corruption.

“Betway joins other responsible operators taking a robust and proactive approach to tackling a crime that attacks the heart of sport and consumer confidence.”
 

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