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ESSA and Victoria Police in world first integrity link up

A new world’s first agreement between ESSA and Victoria Police is to target suspicious betting activity and deter betting related match fixing.

Law enforcement is to be provided with information from across the world, with the deal set to be in place for 2018 sporting events, including the Australian Open tennis which got underway today (Monday 15 January).

ESSA, the regulated private sports betting operators international integrity body, is to deliver real time betting alerts to police on Australia wide events, should any matches exhibit suspicious betting activity.

The alerts will duly be distributed to the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit, established in 2013 to monitor integrity issue across all sporting codes, however, as part of the deal ESSA are prohibited from accessing any law enforcement data.

Peter Brigham, Detective Superintendent at Victoria Police, acknowledged the growing trend of sport related crime, and the benefits a relationship such as this brings in attempting to stamp it out: “We often refer to Melbourne as Australia’s sporting capital, however with that title comes a level of risk in relation to sports betting.

“It is a massive business and in such a lucrative market there is always the potential for corruption.

“A number of ESSA members facilitate betting on Victorian events, however have no presence within Australia.

“This means that police such as our Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit investigators have limited ability to contact these betting agencies directly when making enquiries into suspicious betting activity on local sporting events.

“Given the real time aspect of the alerts, it gives our investigators the ability to act quickly and even attend the sporting event in question to immediately commence the investigation.

“The challenge for police is to stay ahead of the game when it comes to this offending and to continually strive to create an environment where it’s difficult for those criminals to exist.

“This agreement with ESSA highlights Victoria Police’s commitment to taking steps to create an environment that will make it difficult for organised crime to infiltrate our shores and our sporting codes.”

ESSA states its role in the link up as providing an alert system with the specific aim of “detecting and deterring the corruption of betting markets through the manipulation of sporting events.”

The non for profit organisation has signed its first agreement with a law enforcement agency, having only previously shared data with sporting federations and gambling regulators.

ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali added: “Our cooperation arrangement with Victoria Police is an important cog in our global outreach and further highlights the international momentum and partnership working which is increasingly gathering pace between responsible stakeholders. This agreement sends a clear message of both parties’ desire to address an issue that blights the enjoyment of fans of both sport and betting.”   

In 2016 ESSA reported a total of 130 alerts of suspicious activity identified on its members betting markets, and the association has reported a further 195 alerts in the first three quarters of 2017.

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