Betting integrity collaboration is vital to protect both the regulated industry and sport.
The Betting and Gaming Council is today announcing a co-operation agreement with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) to expand our global reach in an effort to combat betting corruption and protect the integrity of sport.
The IBIA’s state-of-the-art Monitoring and Alert Platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool that detects and reports suspicious activity on its members’ betting markets. The system tracks transactions linked to individual consumer accounts and works closely with sports governing bodies from FIFA and UEFA in football to ITIA in tennis and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The agreement will provide for greater cooperation between IBIA and the BGC on integrity and wider betting issues in the UK and indeed globally.’
Back in 2010, the then sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, commissioned a report from Rick Parry (who at the time was the chief executive of Liverpool FC), following increasing concerns about betting on sport leading to cheating and corruption. It recommended the setting up of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit within the Gambling Commission, the industry regulator, to provide a comprehensive education programme for competitors, a new code of conduct for all sports governing bodies and to deal with reports of betting-related corruption.
The new unit was set up in 2011 and was followed by the Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF), which brings together representatives from sports governing bodies, betting operators, sport and betting trade associations, law enforcement agencies and gambling regulators. The BGC is represented on this group, which reflects the reality that match fixing presents a major and continuing challenge for the governance, culture, reputation and operational capabilities of sport and sports betting operators.
Thankfully, reports of corrupt sports betting are rare in the UK, but we simply cannot afford to be complacent, which is why the BGC’s link-up with the IBIA is so important – and once again underlines our commitment to the highest possible standards. Around 30 million people in the UK enjoy an occasional flutter, and they should have confidence that sports betting is fair and free from corruption.
Meanwhile, there are real concerns that Covid-19 – and the resulting economic impact - has encouraged fixers to diversify into new areas and target vulnerable teams, players and officials. That is why we can never rest on our laurels.
I am delighted that the BGC has entered into this collaboration with the IBIA, and am confident that by working together across borders, we can take swift action to stamp out threats to sporting integrity wherever we find them. Our combined membership gives us a powerful voice to represent the regulated sector and I am sure industry regulators both here and abroad will warmly welcome this vital initiative.