International betting integrity body ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) reported 266 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during 2017, following a fourth quarter tally of 114 alerts.
Tennis (160) and football (45) constituted 77% of all suspicious alerts during the year, whilst alerts covering all other sports grew significantly to 23% (up from 8% in 2016). Geographically, Europe continues to lead the location of sporting events on which alerts have been generated, totalling 144 (54%) in 2017, with Asia continuing to fill second spot with 50 alerts (19%).
Khalid Ali, ESSA Secretary General stated that: “The past year has proved to be one of our most challenging and yet productive to date. The effectiveness of the association’s alert system, bolstered by an expanding membership, continues to be publicly recognised by key stakeholders. New information sharing agreements have also been put in place so that we can react more readily to changing trends and challenges to both our members’ businesses and our partners around the world.
To complement this, the association is to engage in a total of four anti-match-fixing projects during 2018, part of our on-going policy to participate in and promote integrity efforts on behalf of our members. There is a growing focus on betting integrity in existing and potential new markets and ESSA has sought to reflect this in its responses to policy consultations and in its wider engagement.
“The coming year is set to be another important period for the betting sector and integrity will again be high on the agenda. ESSA will continue to promote the adoption of proportionate and effective integrity policies and market regulations. We invite all operators committed to defending betting markets, sports and consumers from corruption to consider joining us in promoting those actions.”
ESSA holds positions on high-level betting policy forums at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the IOC. It is driving a number of important initiatives aimed at addressing match-fixing and hosted an international betting integrity conference at Lords Cricket Ground last year, attended by over 150 senior officials from sports bodies, regulators and other key stakeholders.
A copy of ESSA’s 2017 integrity report can be accessed here, along with previous reports.