ESSA, the regulated betting industry’s integrity body, has unanimously re-elected Mike O’Kane as its Chairman for a further two years. O’Kane, Business Director at Ladbrokes and who has nearly 40 years experience in the sector, stated that he was ‘delighted to be able to continue in the role’.
O’Kane first took over as ESSA Chairman in 2013 and during his tenure ESSA has increased its membership to 18; developed a new platform for exchanging information on irregular betting patterns; and has been actively involved in looking after the interests of the regulated sector at high level forums at the Council of Europe, European Commission and the IOC.
ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali welcomed the decision: “I have worked closely with Mike now for a number of years and he has been a key factor in refocusing the organisation and delivering a number of significant achievements for the regulated sector. The organisation has grown in both membership and influence during that time, and has become a more visible and effective body.”
O’Kane commented: “ESSA has made significant headway by pushing for an evidenced-based discussion with decision-makers, which has resulted in refocusing the debate to issues such as poor sports governance. Much credit should go to the Board and the wider membership for the hard work that has been put in to achieve that. However, we still face a number of challenges, notably achieving a more coordinated approach to information sharing between stakeholders.”
ESSA launched its new corporate identity last year, reflecting its increasing global presence and an evolving membership; the PMU joined at the end of 2014, and Sky Bet has been the most recent addition bringing the organisation to 18 members. ESSA has also been improving its reporting and early warning system, which is more efficient and accessible following considerable investment in cutting-edge technology, making it uniquely equipped to deal with sports betting integrity issues.