During the first quarter of 2016, there were 11 instances of suspicious betting patterns reported to the relevant authorities by sports betting integrity body ESSA, which represents many of the largest regulated international sports betting operators.
Of the 11, the vast majority were identified in tennis with nine in total emanating from the sport, with one apiece in basketball and football. From a geographical perspective, there were five cases identified in Asia, three in Europe, two in Africa and one in South America.
The report also included a call by Mike O’Kane, ESSA Chairman for the necessity of greater transparency. He stated: “Transparency improves integrity and that in turn limits opportunities for corruption.”
He continued: “That is only achieved, however, if sports governing bodies coordinate their actions and exchange information with all the key stakeholders. In the area of match fixing that includes: gambling regulatory bodies, law enforcement and betting operators.”
The release of the Q1 2016 integrity report, which also includes articles on sports governance and betting integrity issues by the Council of Europe and Sports Integrity Initiative, can be accessed in full here.
The release of the report coincides with the annual EU sports integrity day, endorsed through social media as #EUSportIntegrityDay.
The integrity campaign, which is open to everyone who is committed to fighting match-fixing, is designed to raise awareness, reinforce the key education messages about sports betting integrity, showcase good practice in the fight against match-fixing and demonstrate a public commitment to preventing match-fixing from harming sport.
The #EUSportIntegrityDay is held on April 15th every year and is promoted by EU Athletes, a federation of European players associations and athlete unions, which manages a player education programme with the regulated betting sector, including ESSA. The programme recently received a boost in funding from the European Commission which will ensure that it continues for a further two years until at least the end of 2017.
ESSA was first established in 2005 by concerned bookmakers in order to monitor betting markets and patterns and alert the relevant bodies and regulators should any suspicious behavior be noted. Members include William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Ladbrokes and plenty more established betting operators.