Sharing best practice urged on betting operators.

The latest action plan from the sports-betting integrity forum (SBIF) spells out how it expects stakeholders to continue to share information and specifically suggests betting operators should work on sharing best practice with small- and medium-sized operators.

The SBIF action plan was published in mid-February and details a number of consultations and working groups that it hopes to report back later in the year.

Among the objectives are those set out for betting operators to develop a strategy for the wider dissemination of techniques for spotting and dealing with suspected match-fixing incidents across the industry.

Paul Leyland, partner at Regulus Partners, said the objective was of “fundamental importance”. “Many operators have really upped their games on the integrity front in recent times, but smart corruptors will target points of weakness. In our view, a consistently rigorous approach, subject to an external audit of some description, is required. We hope that this action is an important step along the way to achieving that.”

The Sports-Betting Integrity Action Plan was initially published in 2015 with an update appearing in January this year. It states the importance of prevention of match-fixing. “Sport and sports-betting rely upon high standards of integrity,” the action plans states. “Match-fixing and related betting corruption undermines the ethos, reputation and commercial viability of sports and betting businesses.

The Action Plan makes it clear that match-fixing can have an impact on the social, political and economic benefits derived from both sports and sports-betting. “It tarnishes the reputation of all athletes and has impact upon Britain’s reputation as a safe environment within which to host sporting events and conduct gambling related business.”

Much as the Action Plan says that in the UK does not have an endemic corruption problem, it does remind stakeholders that constant vigilance is needed, particularly due to the international dimensions of match-fixing.

“Match-fixing can involve serious organised crime networks operating at national and international level using sophisticated technologies and organisational structures.”

Looking specifically at issues around gambling, the Action Plan notes that illegal or unregulated betting makes the detection of sports betting corruption much harder to identify and address.

“We will continue to promote the benefits of effective regulation, and work to address illegal gambling at home and abroad, supporting the Gambling Commission’s strategic objective to keep crime out of gambling,” the action plans continues.

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