ESSA Report: Tennis triggering integrity concerns

Mike O’Kane

Tennis has triggered the most betting integrity alerts over the past quarter, accordinding to ESSA‘s second quarterly integrity report which details the level of suspicious betting activity detected on the markets of some of the world’s major regulated betting operators.

Overall, during the second quarter of 2015, ESSA members raised 73 alerts of which, after detailed examination, 23 were found to be suspicious and were reported to the relevant regulatory body for further investigation. Tennis (19) and football (4) dominated the suspicious alerts identified in Q2.

“A number of high-profile scandals have sadly dominated sport since the publication of our first quarterly integrity report,” said Mike O’Kane, Chairman of ESSA. “These relate to suspected match-fixing, most notably in Italy and Spain, and also wider corruption in sport with the revelations of alleged high-profile corrupt practices at senior levels in world football’s governing body, FIFA.

“The two issues are, in a broad sense, linked and good governance practices in sport are an important barometer of its overall integrity level. Whilst we have not seen an upsurge in alerts during Q2, concerns remain regarding certain sports. It is my firm belief that corrupters will continue to prey on sports with poor governance and financial management structures, which is unfortunately widespread in the sector, and that this will continue to weaken the fight against fixers.”

ESSA supported the recent European Parliamentary motion for a resolution, following the FIFA scandal, which underlined the need for all international sports to have transparent, accountable and democratic structures in place. ESSA’s Q2 integrity report also includes an article by MEP Marc Tarabella, co-chair of the European Parliament’s recently established Intergroup on Sport, who outlines the group’s interest and his own views on betting integrity issues.

In particular, Tarabella states that: “Ensuring the integrity of sport is fundamental to its future. It is not only about corruption and match-fixing, however; there is also doping, money laundering and so on. Unfortunately, some sports have ignored these issues and sport’s image as a whole has been blackened as a result. As the European Parliament’s resolution condemning the situation within FIFA shows, there is widespread support among MEPs for change across the sector.”

Eric Konings, Sports Betting Integrity Officer at Unibet, also provides an insight into the process of pricing betting markets and the importance of maintaining the integrity of sports events in the report. Konings is speaking at SBC’s Betting on Football conference at the Emirates on 9 September on the issue of integrity. Tickets bought this month apply for a 50% discount.

ESSA continues to play a key role as the regulated betting sector’s representative body at national and international match-fixing policy forums and holds positions on working groups at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It represents many of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone, and is continually reassessing and improving its reporting and early warning systems.


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