Tuesday June 5, 2012 :  CORRUPTION IN SPORT – ESSA RELEASES LATEST STATS
 
Football remains the main target for betting corruption
 
The latest statistics on anti-sport corruption have been released by the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) and show a similarly small number of betting corruption alerts experienced in 2010.
 
The stats are compiled from information on millions of bets provided by Europe’s leading sports betting operators and ESSA claims that the continued low level demonstrates the value of the sophisticated detection, deterrent and risk assessment protocols employed by those operators in protecting consumers and the sport and betting products from corruption.
 
During 2011, the period covered by the latest report, sports betting companies flagged 69 alerts, which after detailed examination lead to 8 referrals of suspicious betting patterns to the relevant sports governing and gambling regulatory authorities.
 
Breaking the alerts down, it is apparent that football remains the target-of-choice of would-be crooks, with tennis also popular:
 
Football: 45%
Volleyball: 4.3%
Badminton: 1.4%
Horse racing: 1.4%
Tennis: 32%
Boxing: 4.3%
Basketball: 1.4%
Table tennis: 5.8%
Snooker: 2.9%
Darts: 1.4%
 
Khalid Ali, ESSA’s Secretary General, announced that the organisation was pleased with the integrity figures. “Put simply, corrupters are steering clear of ESSA’s well-regulated and vigilant sports betting operators; our detection systems are too effective,” he said in a statement this week.
 
“ESSA members are some of the most knowledgeable and experienced operators in the global sports betting market. These are reputable companies which have invested sizable sums in cutting-edge internal security systems built on that expertise,” Ali advised.
 
ESSA does not however intend to become complacent. “We are continually reassessing our systems and how we can improve on our current risk assessment protocols and our relationships with other stakeholders,” he added.
 
On the latter, ESSA has recently agreed information sharing arrangements with the gambling regulators of Malta, Alderney and Gibraltar, and is in discussions with others. This adds to its already impressive list of agreements with over 20 sports governing bodies, including FIFA, UEFA, IOC and the UK Gambling Commission.
 
“As the betting industry’s integrity body, ESSA will continue to seek to promote cross-sector partnerships, such the ground breaking agreement with the IOC to protect the London 2012 Games. We want to work with sport and other stakeholders on an equitable basis,” Ali emphasised.
 
“ESSA operators have a clear business need to maintain the integrity of sporting events. That does not mean, however, that licensed operators should bear the cost of the corrupt activities of the unlicensed market. ESSA members already pay authorities large amounts in licence fees and other business costs on top of our expenditure on internal systems and education programmes. It is also important to remember that many examples of match-fixing have no betting component.”
 
Looking forward, Ali highlighted the organisation’s desire to expand to include more well-regulated operators outside of Europe. “ESSA’s members are major global operators, but we are aware that there are other important players in this market. Our future plans involve reaching out to those parties with a similar aim as our own and enhancing our existing information network capabilities. Such action will undoubtedly benefit sporting bodies, the licensed betting market and consumers.”