Olympic organizers meeting bookies ahead of Summer Games

olympic rings bikeOlympic organizers and bookmakers will meet to discuss the best ways to tackle any betting corruption at the Summer Games in London. UK bookmakers and representatives from the Gambling Commission, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) meet on Tuesday in Westminster. It’s thought to represent the first formal discussions gambling industry firms have held with those running the Olympics.

There will be a large focus on how to deal with any corruption around the Games and methods employed to ensure suspect patterns are communicated between all parties. Representing the IOC will be head of ethics Paquerette Girard Zappelli, Kendrah Potts, the lead lawyer on betting and doping at LOCOG will be on hand, along with Nick Tofiluk, head of regulation at the Gambling Commission. The IOC has already signed a deal with Betfair to assist with any problems that might occur and the UK is setting up a unit to tackle fixing.

Gambling industry voices are slightly perturbed by the various bodies getting so worried about the games being so heavily influenced by fixing with one “industry insider” quoted by the Guardian, saying: “The reality is that the Olympics is a very small event in betting terms. The threat seems to have been overstated.”

Given that any betting corruption in sport is swiftly reported to the relevant authorities by firms in the gambling industry, it’s no surprise they’re calling the threat overstated. The Olympics taking place in the UK means it’s happening in one of the strongest territories in terms of gambling industry regulation and most fixing is discovered before developing further.

Mike O’Kane, trading director at Ladbrokes and chief bookmaker at the industry body European Sports Security Association, is chairing the meeting. The government sending a representative in the shape of Department of Culture Media and Sport civil servant, Andrew Scattergood, from their Olympic executive.