Integrity in sports update: Nevada takes aim at daily fantasy sports sites

Weekly media recap 12-18 October 2015 published on 20 October 2015

In this week’s media recap, the Current Investigation in Nepal shows the transnational nature of match-fixing activities, which warrants joint international effort to tackle.

There are good practices introduced in Australia football league clubs for signing up charters to distant youngsters from indulging in gambling activities.  On the other hand, the International Association of Athletics Federations is creating a new and more independent integrity unit to deal with anti-doping matters.

Last but not least, state regulator in Las Vegas in the United States is introducing measures to combat an emerging trend of ‘daily fantasy sport’ (i.e. players compete against others by building a team of professional athletes from a particular league or competition, and earn points based on the actual statistical performance of the players in real-world competitions, that are conducted over short-term periods such as a week or single day of competition), which has already attracted more than 56 million ‘players’ in North America. The regular regards ‘daily fantasy sport’ as gambling instead of a game of skill.  As such, all similar activities have to be licensed.  

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Nepal

Nepal is in the midst of a major match-fixing probe that has a Singapore connection. Five of the Himalayan nation's football players have been accused of being on the take. Each of them allegedly pocketed between 100,000 rupees ($1,300) and 1 million rupees from match-fixing syndicates to influence the outcome of a single match. The footballers - three current nationals and two former nationals - were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of being involved in match-fixing activities from as far back as 2008 to the present. Sources close to the investigations told The New Paper that the footballers had ties with match fixers from Singapore and Malaysia. TNP can reveal that the two foreigners under scrutiny by the Nepali police are former Clementi Khalsa midfielder and convicted match fixer Titani Periasamy, 38, and Malaysian footballer P. Kesavan, 29. The pair are alleged to have wired money to the Nepali footballers, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sarbendra Khanal, the chief of Metropolitan Police Crime Division in Nepal. The suspects are Nepal national team skipper Sagar Thapa and team-mates Sandeep Rai and Ritesh Thapa, and two former nationals, Anjan and Bikash Singh.Aside from Ritesh, a second-choice goalkeeper in the current national squad, the others are defenders. Titani first appeared on the radar in March this year when he was arrested in Moldova with another Singaporean for trying to bribe Moldova Football Federation officials with 50,000 euros (S$75,000) to ensure their Under-21 team lost to Belgium by three goals. The Singaporeans were fined and jailed briefly. What caught the attention of investigators in Asia, including the police, football administrators and a sports data company, was Titani making numerous money transfers to people in Singapore, Europe and Nepal before his arrest in Moldova. A source close to the investigation said: "This is probably the biggest national team bust in recent Asian football history. (But) it's the tip of the iceberg as there were likely cash hand-offs and transfers from other fixers."

Source: Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, "Nepal's kelong crackdown has Singapore link", 18 October 2015, The New Paper, https://news.asiaone.com/news/sports/nepals-kelong-crackdown-has-spore-link

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Australia

Six Australian Football League clubs based in the state of Victoria have signed up to a charter that aims to shield minors from exposure to gambling ads and brands as part of their commitment to responsible gaming. The signatories include some of Australia’s highest-profile teams, including current AFL champions Hawthorn Football Club, who have renewed their commitment to the charter alongside Collingwood FC and North Melbourne. They are joined by new sign-ups Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Essendon, as well as A-League association football team Melbourne Victory. The team’s actions have been praised by Victorian Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett, who reiterated her government’s commitment to reducing gambling-related harm. “This charter will help to reduce the exposure of young people to gambling through sports and better educate fans, players and members about the risks of gambling,” she said. The Ministry for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation explained that during the AFL season an average of 300,000 fans watch games each weekend, with the teams followed by more than 1m people on social media. This offers huge exposure to sports betting companies, which have spent $149m on advertising in 2015 to date, up by $44.5m, with digital channels seeing the biggest increase in investment. “Knowing your limits and remaining within them is an important message we try to drive home to our fans, our players and our staff,” Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert said.

Source: "AFL clubs Register to charter in bid to protect minors from gambling", 14 October 2015, Gambling Intelligence, https://www.gamingintelligence.com/legal/34467-afl-clubs-sign-up-to-charter-in-bid-to-protect-minors-from-gambling

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe today revealed he is in the process of creating a new integrity unit, a key election manifesto promise, as he publicly unveiled an overhaul of the world governing body's advisory structures. The double Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist had pledged to set-up a new body to deal with anti-doping following widespread allegations made by British newspaper The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD of drug-taking among some of athletics' best-known names. "I do want a system that is more independent, that relieves the [IAAF] Members' Federations from some of the pressure, some of the resource implications, some of the challenges of a legalistic nature," Coe told an audience, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, at the European Athletics Convention in Lausanne today. "That will actually mean broadening the testing pool internationally and reducing your international commitments, but allowing you to focus on what you do extremely well, which is national testing programmes and educational programmes. It will mean a swifter management around our results.

Source: Duncan Mackay, "Coe to set-up IAAF integrity unit to help sport fight doping crisis", 16 October 2015, Inside the Games, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1031009/coe-to-set-up-iaaf-integrity-unit-to-help-sport-fight-doping-crisis

 

LEGISLATION

United States

Somewhere in America right now, someone — probably a man between 18 and 49 years old — is sweating his fantasy sports roster, preparing to place a wager on the real-life performance of his favored players. Which NFL quarterback will throw more touchdowns? Which NBA point guard will sink more baskets? The United States and Canada boast more than 56 million fantasy sports players who wager millions on such questions — many after doing more research than is needed to spin a roulette wheel. But weeks after New York’s attorney general announced an investigation into DraftKings and rival FanDuel for possible corruption, a state regulator in Nevada has ruled that daily fantasy sports (DFS) — in which players wager on athletes’ performances on a single day rather than over entire seasons — is not a game of skill, but gambling. This was the distinction behind a Nevada Gaming Control Board ruling Thursday banning the Web sites from the Silver State. “Since offering daily fantasy sports in Nevada is illegal without the proper license, all unlicensed activities must cease and desist from the date of this notice,” wrote Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he added: “We’re not saying they can’t do [DFS]. We’re saying they can do this as long as they have a gaming license.

Source: Justin Wm. Moyer, "Sorry, daily fantasy sports is gambling, not a game of skill, Nevada says", 16 October 2015, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/16/nevada-sorry-fantasy-sports-is-gambling-not-a-game-of-skill/

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

South Africa

A South African soccer official was banned by FIFA for six years as part of a match-fixing investigation involving friendly games ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Lindile Kika, who was the South African Football Association's head of national teams at the time, is banned from any soccer-related activities. FIFA judge Hans-Joachim Eckert found Kika guilty of breaching five sections of the ethics code: general rules of conduct, commission, conflicts of interest as well as loyalty, duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting. But an ethics committee statement did not specifically say what Kika's misdemeanors were. Kika was among the SAFA officials asked to take a leave of absence in 2012 following a FIFA report into the match-fixing investigation. FIFA had previously said there was “compelling evidence'' that at least one of the warm-up games played by South Africa's national team in May 2010 was fixed. No players are suspected of any wrongdoing. The manipulation is believed to be by referees working for the Singapore-based betting syndicate of Wilson Raj Perumal and Dan Tan.

Source: "South African banned after match fixing inquiry", 14 October 2015, Hong Kong Standard, https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=67757&icid=5&d_str=20151015

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