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International betting integrity body ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) reported 83 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during the fourth quarter of 2018, bringing the annual total to 267 cases. Tennis (178) and football (52) constituted 86% of all alerts during the year. Geographically, Europe maintained its position as the primary location of sporting events on which alerts have been generated, totalling 148 (55%) in 2018, with Asia continuing to fill second spot with 48 alerts (18%).
Khalid Ali, ESSA Secretary General, stated that: “ESSA’s alerts remain an important barometer for gauging betting related corruption globally. Outside of tennis and football, we are beginning to see new threats emerging such as the increased number of alerts on eSports.” He added: “Given the multi-jurisdictional nature of match-fixing, regulators around the world are now beginning to make it a requirement for operators to be part of an international monitoring system, which we fully support.”
It was also announced that Jon Russell, Global Head of Trading at Betway, would take over as ESSA’s new Chair. He said: “I would like to thank the previous Chair, Heike Mayer, for her valuable contribution to ESSA and its members over the last couple of years. The association took on a new focus and direction during Heike’s tenure and I will be seeking to work with my board colleagues and the wider membership to build upon on the success of that approach and the positive impact that it has had.”
He added “The year ahead is expected to pose new challenges and opportunities for the sector and ESSA is setting out a clear plan of action to ensure that its members are best placed to meet those. Indeed, being part of a collective global monitoring network has never been of greater importance from both a business and integrity perspective, and I call upon all responsible operators to join us in ESSA.”
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.
A copy of ESSA’s 2018 annual integrity report is attached and can also be accessed here, along with previous reports.
ESSA represents many of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone. Concerned regulated bookmakers created ESSA in 2005 to monitor betting markets and alert sporting bodies and national regulators to suspicious betting patterns. The goal was, and is, to protect consumers from potential fraud caused by manipulating sporting events. ESSA helps to combat this with evidence-based intelligence it provides to sporting bodies and regulators.
Every year, our members invest over €50m in compliance and internal security systems in order to help combat fraud. They also give back to sport and society by spending €400m on sponsorship around the world – €250m of that in Europe alone. This increases substantially when advertising and photo and video-streaming rights are taken into consideration. ESSA and its members also co-fund an education programme on gambling with EU Athletes that reaches out to 15,000 athletes/players across at least ten different sports in 13 EU countries.
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). The organisation is continually reassessing and improving its alert and reporting systems and has established information sharing arrangements with a range of sports bodies and regulatory authorities.
ESSA members include: 888sport, ABB, Bet-at-Home, Betclic, Betdaq, Betfred, Betsson, BetStars, BetVictor, Betway, bet365, bwin, Cashpoint, Expekt, Fonbet, Gamesys, Interwetten, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Perform (Affiliate) Sky Bet, Sportingbet, Sporting Index, Sportium, Stanleybet, Stoiximan, Unibet and William Hill.