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James Blake fined for breaching tennis sponsorship rules

James Blake fined for breaching tennis sponsorship rules

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) can today confirm Miami Open Tournament Director and former tennis player James Blake has accepted a sanction for breaching tennis’ betting sponsorship rules. Blake co-operated fully with the investigation and did not contest the charge.

As a Tournament Director, Blake is considered a “covered person”, who must comply with the sport’s rules around relationships with betting operators.

The ITIA accepted that the violation was unintentional and has issued a fine of $56,250 with a further suspended fine of $131,250 and a suspended ban of 18 months. The additional fine and suspension do not come into force unless there is a further breach of the rules during the 18-month period, which started on 9 February 2024.

The TACP rules state that: “No Covered Person shall directly or indirectly, facilitate, encourage and/or promote Tennis Betting (‘Facilitation’).”

Karen Moorhouse, CEO of the ITIA, commented, “Across our members – the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams – the rules prohibit accredited individuals from having commercial relationships with betting companies. 

This case is more a matter of perception, rather than corruption. The rules apply to players, coaches, officials and accredited tournament staff - who all have the ability to influence results or have access to inside information

We urge anyone in the sport who is unclear or is considering commercial deals like this to get in touch with us to seek guidance.”  

To download the ITIA App, which is custom-designed to support players, representatives and support staff with TACP and Tennis Anti-Doping Programme rules, click here (iOS) or here (Android).

The ITIA is an independent body established by its tennis members to promote, encourage, enhance, and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide. 

50 suspicious betting alerts reported by IBIA in Q3 2023

50 suspicious betting alerts reported by IBIA in Q3 2023

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 50 suspicious betting alerts to the relevant authorities in third quarter (Q3) of 2023. The Q3 2023 total is the same as reported in Q2 and brings the Q1-3 2023 period to 148 alerts. Football and tennis accounted for 56% of all Q3 alerts. The 50 suspicious betting alerts were identified across IBIA members’ global businesses, which number over 125 sports betting brands and over US$137 billion in betting turnover per annum, making IBIA the largest integrity monitor of its type in the world.

The 50 incidents of suspicious betting in Q3 concerned eight sports, across 21 countries and five continents. Other key data for Q3 2023 includes:

  • The 50 alerts reported in Q3 2023 are a decrease of 41% when compared to the Q3 total for 2022, which saw 85 alerts.
  • Tennis had the highest number of alerts with 15 in Q3 2023, representing a 7% increase on the 14 alerts reported in Q2 and a 55% decrease on the 33 reported in Q3 2022.
  • Football (soccer) accounted for 13 alerts, a 32% decrease on the 19 cases reported in Q2
  • Europe, with 30 alerts, made up 60% of the total reported, followed by South America with 7 alerts (14%).

Khalid Ali, IBIA CEO, said: “The quarter saw a continued reduction in alerts with a more than 30% decrease in the first three quarters relative to 2022, with tennis a major contributory factor. During the quarter, IBIA and the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) co-hosted a best practice integrity seminar in New York with many of the premier sports and betting operators in the US. That cross-sector cooperative approach underlines the strength of our relationship with tennis, as acknowledged by the ITIA, and our shared commitment to working in partnership to combat corruption in that sport.” 

The Q3 integrity report includes a breakdown of alerts reported on sporting events taking place in North America between 2018-2022. It also contains an analysis of tennis alerts, which average 13 tennis cases per quarter in 2023 compared to an average of 26 per quarter in 2022 and 20 per quarter in 2021. The latest US sports betting gross win calculations, provided by leading global gambling market intelligence company H2 Gambling Capital, show that the licensed on onshore market is expected to reach US$11.7bn in gross win in 2023, rising to US$18.9bn by 2026. 

Of the 50 alerts reported in Q3 2023, three related to women only events, 43 for men only events with three mixed gender and one an animal sporting event (greyhound racing). IBIA has recently released a ground-breaking study that analyses the size and characteristics of the women's sports betting market and examines the potential vulnerability of women's sports to match-fixing.

Integrity Task Force concludes monitoring of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™

Integrity Task Force concludes monitoring of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™
  • No suspicious betting or match‑manipulation threats identified during the 64 matches

  • Second successive edition of FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to have been monitored

  • Task force composed of members from expert organisations

 

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Integrity Task Force, which was established to safeguard the competition from match‑manipulation and integrity-related threats, has recently concluded its successful work in monitoring the betting markets and in‑game action in real time during all 64 matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™.

At its post-competition meeting held today, the task force concluded that no suspicious betting activities or match‑manipulation threats had been identified around any game that took place during the tournament. This was the second edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to be monitored by the task force, which was launched ahead of the 2019 finals.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Integrity Task Force comprised representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, the Council of Europe’s Group of Copenhagen, United Lotteries for Integrity in Sports, the International Betting Integrity Association, Sportradar, Sport Integrity Australia and the New Zealand Police.

During the competition, FIFA centralised the collection of information from betting monitoring reports based on market activity data from various jurisdictions, including law enforcement entities and physical surveillance at competition venues.

The monitoring of both the betting markets and in-game action in real time during all of the group- and knockout-stage matches through to the final, which was played on 20 August, found no match‑manipulation threats.

The collaborative effort between FIFA and key international stakeholders in the field of sports integrity ensured an experienced, coordinated and timely response – based on information and data – to any alert during the competition, with each participating stakeholder contributing their specific expertise (investigative and/or technical) throughout the tournament.

In parallel, FIFA continues to work with confederations, member associations and other integrity stakeholders in the fight against match manipulation. In line with its core objective to promote the integrity of football, FIFA takes the battle against match manipulation very seriously and any suspicious activities can be reported via its confidential, dedicated, highly secure and web-based whistle-blowing system.

Further details of FIFA’s integrity initiatives are available here.

Three Global Experts Join the ARF Council on Anti-Illegal Betting & Related Financial Crime

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The Asian Racing Federation’s Council on Anti-Illegal Betting & Related Financial Crime (ARF Council) announced today that it has expanded its membership to include three new experts to support integrity in racing and other sports:

  • Mr. Kim Kelly, former Chief Stipendiary Steward, The Hong Kong Jockey Club;
  • Mr. Michael Phelan, former CEO, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC); and
  • Mr. Luca Esposito, General Secretary, United Lotteries for Integrity in Sport (formerly Global Lottery Monitoring System) / Executive Director, World Lottery Association.

All three have significant experience in upholding integrity of racing and other sports or combatting financial crime.

Martin Purbrick, Chairperson of the ARF Council said that “Mr. Kim Kelly is one of the most respected Stipendiary Stewards in the world of horse racing. Kim’s membership will be of great benefit to the Council’s work as it seeks to highlight how the racing model of integrity works effectively to counter the negative influence from illegal betting markets, as well as provide guidance on how horse racing’s stewarding model in racing works alongside betting analysis to detect issues in the sport and react appropriately. Mr. Michael Phelan is one of the most senior former law enforcement officers in Australia, having had a career of more than 30 years with the ACIC as well as the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Michael is a lifelong horse racing fan and will strengthen our efforts to show how horse racing has the most effective approach to integrity of all sports. Mr. Luca Esposito is a valuable addition to the Council due to his knowledge and experience of technology in betting and he brings further alignment between the ARFCouncil and the legal betting industry regarding the problem of illegal betting.”

With the addition of these new members, the ARF Council now comprises 24 experts in sports and racing integrity, law enforcement, academia, and intergovernmental relations.

About the ARF and the ARF Council

The ARF is a regional federation comprising 28 national racing authorities and racing-related organisations from across Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East.

The ARF is formally linked with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). Australia, Hong Kong and Japan have permanent seats representing the ARF on the Executive Council of the IFHA, and the ARF also nominates one of two rotational positions on the IFHA Executive Council.

Horse racing is a participation sport with riders who are exceptional participant athletes. Racing as a sport brings positive social outcomes, which are education (of participants), employment, economic productivity, and public participation (of large audiences across societies where racing takes place).

The above contributions made by ARF members result in a wide range of positive societal benefits. These are the result of a sport operating within clear legal boundaries and supporting legal licensed betting products that are part of the entertainment around racing. This legal basis is a key part of our belief in the importance of a positive economic and social contribution by the sport of horse racing.

The Asian Racing Federation Council on Anti-illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime (ARF Council) was established in 2017 as a think tank aimed at combatting illegal betting and related financial crime. The ARF Council now comprises 24 members from organisations engaged in horse racing and sports integrity, law enforcement, the United Nations, and academia.

The ARF Council’s purpose is to research and share the scale and negative impacts of illegal betting, particularly as it relates to horse racing and sports integrity, and to foster international collaboration among stakeholders, such as horse racing operators and authorities, gambling regulators, law enforcement agencies, and government policy makers to raise awareness of the threat and to combat the negative impact of illegal betting and other financial crimes to horse racing, other sports, and to society.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board awards Genius Sports initial temporary sports betting authorization

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State gaming authority grants Genius Sports initial approval to support sportsbook partners statewide.

Genius Sports Limited (NYSE: GENI) (“Genius Sports”), the official data, technology and commercial partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting and media, announced today that it has been certified by the State of Louisiana Gaming Control Board as Sports Wagering Service Provider for an initial six months. Genius Sports is currently awaiting its full license authorization.

65 suspicious betting alerts reported by IBIA in Q3 2021

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he International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 65 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during the third quarter (Q3) of 2021. The Q3 2021 total represents a 14% decrease compared to Q3 2020, which saw 76 alerts. The Q3 2021 alerts covered tennis (23 cases), football (18), table tennis (17), esports (2) and one each in handball, cricket, squash, basketball and futsal. From a geographical perspective, Europe accounted for nearly 60% of all alerts reported during Q3, followed by Asia with 15% and Africa 12%.

International Cricket Council selects Sportradar as Data and Streaming Rights partner

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artnership to help create untapped opportunities for the ICC to engage with its diverse and large fan base across the globe.

Partnership to help create untapped opportunities for the ICC to engage with its diverse and large fan base across the globe

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced a global partnership with Sportradar (NASDAQ: SRAD) (“Sportradar” or “the Company”), making them the Official Data Distribution and Official Betting Live Streaming Partner of the ICC. Sportradar is a leading global provider of sports betting and sports entertainment products and services, and the number one provider of business-to-business solutions to the global sports betting industry based on revenue.

Huddersfield Town's Kian Harratt Suspended For Four Months And Fined £3,200

Huddersfield Town's Kian Harratt Suspended For Four Months And Fined £3,200

Huddersfield Town’s Kian Harratt has been suspended for four months and fined £3,200 following breaches of The FA’s Betting Rules.

It was alleged that the forward had breached FA Rule E8.1 by placing 484 bets on football matches between 30 June 2020 and 3 June 2023, and he subsequently admitted to this charge.

An independent Regulatory Commission imposed his sanctions after a hearing, and its written reasons for them can be seen here

IBIA welcomes historic vote of Brazilian sports betting law

IBIA welcomes historic vote of Brazilian sports betting law

IBIA welcomes the adoption of the sports betting law by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. The law introduces an effective regulatory and licensing system for operators in Brazil for both sports betting and online casinos. It also includes a range of integrity measures to strengthen the fight against sports betting related match-fixing.

The law includes a requirement that sports betting operators are part of an international monitoring body; a provision that will help to ensure proper mechanisms are put in place to help protect operators, their customers, as well as sports, from potential fraud and manipulation. In addition, the ability for betting operators to suspend payments of bets for matches that are under investigation for potential corruption is important in protecting operators and deterring sports betting related fraud. 

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: ‘This is an historic moment for sports betting in Brazil and is a major step forward in the fight against match-fixing. IBIA welcomes the adoption of specific betting integrity provisions in the law, which the association has been campaigning for since discussions on regulating sports betting began in 2018. A number of Brazilian market focused operators have already joined IBIA, and we look forward to engaging with other operators intent on offering well-protected sports betting products to Brazilian consumers via IBIA’s world leading integrity network.’

IBIA is run by operators for operators, with its monitoring and alert network harnessing the collective resources and expertise of many of the world’s largest regulated sports betting companies. It monitors approximately US$150bn in betting transactions on approximately 650,000 competitive sporting events globally, making it the largest monitor of its type in the world. According to H2 Gambling Capital – the leading independent authority on global gambling market data – IBIA members already account for over 60% of the remote gambling market in Brazil. 

IBIA’s international monitoring and alert network will provide accurate and detailed intelligence on suspicious betting activity on Brazilian sport to betting regulators, law enforcement and sports governing bodies.

Khalid Ali stated: “Although the new law is a very important milestone in the fight against match-fixing, there is no room for complacency. We are committed to working more closely and sharing our expertise with the Brazilian regulatory authorities on the implementing regulation on integrity, as well as with sports and law enforcement to ensure we more effectively detect, deter and sanction sports betting related match-fixing and fraud.

Opening markets to licensed sports betting operators is key to protecting consumers and the integrity of sporting competitions from sports betting related match-fixing. Regulated sports betting markets channel consumers away from the unregulated markets where most of the issues with match-fixing and corruption arise.

Khalid Ali continued: “By opening-up the market to licensed sports betting operators Brazil is sending a very important message to other markets in Latin America that a dynamic and competitive regulated sports betting framework with strong integrity provisions is essential to the fight against sports betting related match-fixing.”

Sports betting exists within a highly competitive international market and an overly burdensome framework of regulation and taxation will have the counterproductive, and unintended, consequence of driving sports betting customers into unregulated markets, reducing tax revenues and increasing the risk of corruption and match fixing. 

Therefore, whilst IBIA welcomes the fact that the Chamber of Deputies has resisted the temptation to impose higher levels of gambling taxation, the impact of the overall tax burden and the substantial cost of the licencing fee, which remains BRL30m, may deter investments in Brazil.

Tonali banned for 10 months due to illegal betting charges

Tonali banned for 10 months due to illegal betting charges

Newcastle United have confirmed that Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali has been banned for 10 months following illegal betting charges.

club statement said: "Sandro Tonali has been banned from competitive football for 10 months, as effective from Friday 27 October 2023, following illegal betting charges by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

"FIGC's sanction includes an overall 18-month ban, with eight months commuted as the player participates in a therapeutic plan and educational programme in Italy consisting of 16 commitments.

"On the evening of Friday 27 October, Newcastle United received confirmation that FIFA has endorsed FIGC's sanction to be applied worldwide, meaning Sandro will be eligible to return to competitive football from Tuesday 27 August 2024."

CAS upholds the appeal of Nikita Khakimov

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the appeal filed by the Russian badminton player Nikita Khakimov against the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in relation to the decision rendered by the BWF Hearing Panel on 18 November 2020 (the Challenged Decision) in which he was found have committed violations of the BWF Code of Conduct relating to betting and match-fixing and sanctioned with a five-year suspension from badminton-related activities.

Sportsflare joins ESIC as an Anti-Corruption Supporter

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Sportsflare is the latest company to join ESIC in its fight against betting fraud and corruption in esports, joining over 40 Anti-Corruption Supporters around the world. Being an Anti-Corruption Supporter, Sportsflare will assist ESIC in investigating suspicious betting activity across their betting platform, endorsing ESIC’s greater effort against match-fixing and betting fraud within esports.

2021 Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report

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Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services have released their fourth annual Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report. The report aims to provide fellow stakeholders in the sports integrity community with a significant and informative overview of current trends in suspicious football betting.

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