The UK shows the way in fight against match fixing

The UK shows the way in fight against match fixing

Monday, October 24, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Collaboration is key to preventing corruption

The experts in the ‘Match Fixing and Money Laundering’ session at EiG 2016 agreed that collaboration and education remain the crucial components in the ongoing battle for sports betting integrity.

This collaboration was emphasised by the ‘inextricable links’ between Unibet, Perform Group and FIFA Early Warning System (EWS), the three companies represented on this panel.

Unibet is a member of ESSA, the regulated betting industry’s integrity body, which also holds a partnership with Perform Group relating to suspicious betting activity. And just this week, Unibet joined Perform Group in working with FIFA EWS to increase the exchange of information, and improve both prevention measures and education in the field of sports betting integrity.

Dr Julie Norris, Head of EWS, said: “In FIFA and EWS we are working to prevent match fixing, but part of the prevention is detection, investigation and sanction. We have to prove conspiracy, that the match was manipulated, and that the person we're taking the case against was involved in doing that.”

She confirmed that bookmakers can reduce the complexity of this process by helping them to find the people placing the bets, and identify both links back to the sports and potential intermediaries. Norris also urged operators to change terms and conditions where possible, to enable the share of player data with governing bodies if it is permitted by law and there is a suspicion of match manipulation.

Eric Konings, Public Affairs & Sports Integrity Officer at Unibet, said: “Integrity concerns should always prevail over commercial interests. It might be a slight worry for certain customers, but we have a bigger concern. We want to make sure that our platform is free of criminal activity, and that our customers enjoy a rewarding journey through our digital platform.”

Matt Drew, Directory of Integrity & Security at Perform Group, highlighted the importance of companies like Perform as a ‘fundamental start point’ to the process of maintaining integrity standards, with the provision of data that underpins work carried out on the betting markets.

Drew praised the work of the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Integrity Unit (SBIU) in the UK, but admitted that data manipulation is more of a concern at international level, particularly in countries which only deal with what falls under local jurisdiction, rather than looking at other factors such as where the game took place and where the people that placed the suspicious bets are based.

Totally Gaming says: The biggest advantage about the UK being one of the leaders in the area of preventing match fixing was summed up on the day by Eric Konings. He commented: “The best thing that exists in the UK and should be followed by other jurisdictions, is not the SBIU, it's not the Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF), but it's the culture of collaboration. In the UK, all the stakeholders agree and acknowledge that we need each other to fight this problem.”

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