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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. 

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."

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.

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.

LawInSport Weekly News Recap - 24 September

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Welcome to LawInSport’s weekly News Roundup.  This recap highlights this week’s news pieces from across the world of sport. For further updates, please visit our news section.

We hope you find this useful. If you have any related questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Arizona grants Genius Sports temporary sports betting license

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State gaming authority authorizes Genius Sports to power sportsbook partners across The Grand Canyon State

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 granted a Temporary Event Wagering Supplier license by the Arizona Department of Gaming.

INTERPOL: Integrity in sport - bi-weekly bulletin

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INVESTIGATIONS

Belgium

Did Belgium’s 3x3 basketball team commit fraud to qualify for the Olympics?

Basketball Belgium, the Belgian basketball association and the international basketball federation are conducting an investigation into possible fraud involving the organisation of three-on-three basketball tournaments. The investigations have been launched following allegations of fraud involving the Belgian 3x3 Lions, who shone at the Tokyo Olympics.

Wyoming Awards Genius Sports Inaugural Sports Betting License

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State gaming authority grants Genius Sports 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 granted a long term Online Sports Wagering Vendor Permit by the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

NFL announces agreements with four approved sportsbook operators

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NEW YORK -- The National Football League (NFL) today announced it has reached agreements with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET to become Approved Sportsbook Operators for the 2021 NFL season. These agreements make all four operators eligible to purchase NFL in-game commercial units and other select NFL media inventory.

Protecting sport’s integrity at Tokyo 2020

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Protecting the integrity of sport at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021, is a top priority for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC Executive Board (EB) was updated today on the measures put in place for Games time – aimed at both preventing and dealing swiftly with competition manipulation.

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.

The RFEF and the Spanish Government take further steps to fight against illegal sports betting

The RFEF and the Spanish Government take further steps to fight against illegal sports betting

The federation joins the betting market global research service (SIGMA) as part of the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has officially joined the SIGMA service for the global investigation of betting markets. It has done so through an agreement with the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling - dependent on the Ministry of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030 -, which was signed today at the Ciudad del Fútbol in Las Rozas by Pedro Rocha (president of the RFEF Management Committee) and Mikel Arana (director general for the Regulation of Gambling).

Through this agreement, the RFEF takes a further step in its work to prevent and detect any fraudulent practices related to illegal sports betting by formally joining SIGMA. This service is an interactive cooperation network, in which its participants exchange information to fight against fraud in the sports betting market, preventing manipulation in these types of competitions.

Pedro Rocha stated that football, as "the example for society that it is", must fight against everything that distorts the competition and its sporting spirit. "To be a true example, we must ensure equal opportunities, the safety and protection of all those who play the game and, of course, its cleanliness," said the president of the RFEF's Management Committee. "Working against illegal sports betting means protecting our football and taking care of its cleanliness", he insisted, before affirming that, with the agreement signed, the RFEF is committed to "continue to provide transparency and to collaborate with the relevant institutions and security forces".

Mikel Arana, for his part, thanked the RFEF for its commitment to clean betting, and emphasised "the importance of the football world representing the true values of sport". Arana reiterated "the firm will of the DGOJ to continue its work in the prosecution of illegal rigging of sports events", and its intention to "incorporate new players into the global betting market investigation service to improve its efficiency and strength".

In addition to Pedro Rocha and Mikel Arana, the event was attended by various officials from the RFEF - such as Felipe Sánchez-Pedreño, Director of Integrity - and from the Directorate General - such as the Deputy Director General of Gambling Regulation, Eugenio Álvarez Fernández; or the Deputy Director General of Gambling Inspection, Cecilia Pastor Pons -. All of them agreed that the signing of this agreement places the RFEF as a standard setter for management and inter-institutional collaboration to achieve a higher quality football free of any suspicion.

How SIGMA works

SIGMA is a service managed by the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling and is accessible digitally for participants who are members of the same group. Under the agreement, the RFEF will provide its data so that the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling can fight against corruption linked to the manipulation of sports competitions and fraud through sports betting. These activities, as stated in the agreement signed today, "undermine the interests of participants and operators in this sector, and constitute one of the greatest threats to sport".

The federation will submit the required information, both on irregular and suspicious sports betting when it becomes aware of any practice that could be fraudulent in nature.

An example of data that the RFEF may provide to SIGMA is that relating to the possession of licences of any kind (players, coaches, etc.) of a person suspected of having carried out any fraudulent or suspicious activity related to sports betting. In addition to facilitating the work of other bodies, such as the police or the judiciary, the coordination that will be achieved with SIGMA will also favour the application of the consequent disciplinary measures.

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.

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.

Bolton Wanderers cutting ties with betting companies

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Bolton Wanderers Chief Executive Neil Hart has said that the club cutting ties with betting companies is the ‘right thing’ to do.

Bolton, who currently sit ninth in League One, have said it will remove all betting kiosks from with the University of Bolton Stadium and no longer accept gambling money. Hart said “Bolton want to win on the pitch, but alongside that is doing the right thing. We just felt, with the saturation of betting advertising around football, we didn't need to be part of that. We are not saying to supporters don't bet, but we aren't going to provide you with that opportunity within the stadium and it's something we believed in. The early indication is it’s been received very positively and our supporters are very much aligned with us.”

Genius Sports clinches new official data and trading partnership with Golden Nugget Online Gaming

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  • Genius Sports to provide Golden Nugget with its market-leading official data and trading solutions for the English Premier League, NASCAR, and NFL

Genius Sports Limited (NYSE: GENI) (“Genius Sports”) the official data, technology and commercial partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting and media, has won a new official data and trading partnership with Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNOG).

Genius Sports names Ian Wray to lead global soccer growth

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Genius Sports Limited (NYSE: GENI) (“Genius Sports”), the official data, technology and commercial partner that powers the ecosystem connecting sports, betting and media, has appointed sports data expert Ian Wray to lead its growth in the global soccer market.

Genius Sports secures latest official data, NFL and fan engagement partnership with WynnBET

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  • WynnBET recently selected as an Approved Sportsbook Operator of the NFL for the 2021 season
  • Genius Sports to provide WynnBET with its exclusive NFL offering including official data feeds, player acquisition and fan engagement solutions
  • Builds off long-term relationship to provide WynnBET with official data and trading solutions from EPL, Liga MX, Argentine and Colombian soccer

Genius Sports Appoints Former NFL Network and ESPN CEO as President, North America

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  • Brings extensive media experience to Genius, including time at ESPN, ABC and NFL Network
  • He will lead the Company’s U.S. and Canadian activities
  • He will develop Genius’ regional business infrastructure to position the Company for accelerated growth in existing and new areas
  • He will work closely with the executive team to identify innovative and revenue accretive acquisition targets

INTERPOL: Integrity in sport - bi-weekly bulletin - 27 July 2021

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NVESTIGATIONS

Ghana

Football: Player scores two own goals to ruin match-fixing plot in Ghana

A player in the Ghana Premier League Hashmin Musah has claimed that he scored two deliberate own goals in a match on Saturday so as to foil an alleged match-fixing plot.

COMPETITION MANIPULATION IS A THREAT TO SPORT INTEGRITY: AIU IDENTIFIES MULTIPLE ILLEGITIMATE QUALIFYING PERFORMANCES FOR THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES

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21 JULY 2021, MONACO: In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has received 17 referrals for investigation of suspicious qualifying performances. The referrals were from 16 countries and included 31 athletes and five relay teams. As a result of the AIU’s investigations, eight qualifying performances for the Olympic Games were not recognised by World Athletics and the relevant athletes denied a place at the Games. A number of cases have been identified by the AIU for further investigation to determine if fraudulent conduct was involved.

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