Report of inquiry into the effects of betting on sport

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The All Party Parliamentary Group on Betting and Gaming called on the Government, sports governing bodies and the betting industry to work together to protect punters and improve the integrity of sports betting.

The report makes 15 recommendations:

1. We regard it as crucial that legislation to establish the Gambling Commission and the putting into place of procedures to protect punters is proceeded with in this Parliament.

2. We recommend that the gambling bill be amended so as to place a duty on the Gambling Commission to produce a statement setting out in full a definition of cheating.

3. We recommend that a common approach on insider dealing on betting exchanges and spread betting operations be agreed between the Financial Services Authority and the Gambling Commission.

4. We recommend that the Government take note of the views expressed to us by Lord Condon and the ICC on the question of legal penalties for cheating, and amend the gambling bill accordingly.

5. We recommend that sports have a direct involvement in determining the types of bets that may be facilitated, and this be incorporated in future and existing memoranda of understanding between sports and betting organisations. 

6. We recommend that all major betting operators sign MoUs (including online and high street bookmakers, as well as betting exchanges) with the sports on which they base their business.

7. We recommend that the sports governing bodies work together to devise a common set of standards to be applied on who may bet (and lay) on their own sports, and that in due course these standards be reviewed and approved by the Gambling Commission.

8. We recommend consistency in penalties imposed by governing bodies for breaches of rules concerning irregular or improper betting by sports participants.

9. We recommend that each governing body issues regular reminders of what the rules on sports betting are, why they exist, and what penalties may be applied if they are disregarded.

10. We recommend that all memoranda of understanding should be reviewed and approved by the Gambling Commission, as soon as the Commission is established.

11. We recommend that all sports on which betting is conducted through the exchanges should sign MoUs without delay, if they have not yet done so, and the betting exchanges should only accept bets on those sports with which they have signed MoUs.

12. We recommend that the government should review the difficulties faced by governing bodies in convicting the guilty and penalising them appropriately, and if necessary legislate to clarify them (perhaps as part of the gambling bill).

13. We recommend that the Gambling Commission monitors the situation regarding the issuing of licensing of betting exchanges.

14. We recommend that the principle of establishing audit trails in the betting industry be extended, starting with the credit and online customers of bookmakers. We also recommend that bookmakers consider ways of introducing processes to identify those responsible for large or unusual bets as a means of spotting early indications of problem gambling or irregular betting patterns. These arrangements (and those of the betting exchanges) should in future be agreed with and monitored by the Gambling Commission.

15. We recommend that the Government and the Gambling Commission consider whether it is necessary for elements of the Data Protection Act to be waived in order elements of the Data Protection Act to be waived in order to facilitate effective investigation of alleged betting irregularities.

Click here to read the full report.